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Fredericksburg : 










3^etD SHdttioit tuitft Supplcntcitt 


Author of a " History of Virginia,"' " Ri'port on Treatment of Prisoners 

of War,'' adopted !){/ Confederate Congress, "Students' History 

of the United States," and other works. 


publisher: fredekicksburg, va. 


Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1897, 

By J. WiLLARD Adams, 

In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington. 



Past, Present and Future. 

In seeking to comply with the invitation of the Lecture 
Committee of our Library and Lyceum Association, and 
to lecture on the theme thus presented, I feel bound, as is 
tlie manner of all veracious historians, to begin at the be- 
ginning. But where the beginning is or ought to be may 
be a serious question. To quiet your alarm, however, 
ladies and gentlemen, let me say at once that I do not pro- 
pose to follow the example of the profound and erudite 
Mr. Diederick Knickerbocker, wdio, when he undertook to 
write the history of New York, under the Dutch rule, gave 
to his readers three complete and rich preliraiuai-y chapters, 
in which he discussed the all-important question, how this 
world came to be created — discussed, in fact, every theory, 
sage or wild, that has been announced concerning creation, 
from the days of INIoses to the present time. In these high 
questions I do not feel bound to involve either you or myself 
in looking into the beginning of Fredericksburg. It will 
suffice to say that, after the lapse of some four hundred and 
fifty millions of years from the epoch when our Earth was 
first gathered, by Creative Power, into a sphere (which 
period the great Canadian geologist. Principal Dawson, of 
Montreal, considers a very moderate allowance of time), 
the crust of the earth became a genial soil, adorned with 
grass, and flowers, and fruits, and trees, and fit for the 
habitation of man; and that the surface of the earth con- 
tained not only the continents of Asia, Africa and Europe, 
and the great seas, but also the continent of North and 
South America; and that North America contained what 
was, in due time, the territory of the United States, and 
the United States contained Virginia, and Virginia con- 
tained the county of Spotsylvania, and Spotsylvania, the 
town of Fredericksburg. Thus you perceive that w^e reach 


the l)eginning of our beloved old city by a niiich shorter and 
safer course than that run by Diederick Knickerbocker — 
much shorter and safer than that of the man who, having 
undertaken to leap over a chasm fifty feet dee}) and four- 
teen feet wide, went back a mile and a-half that he might 
gain a sufficient momentum, and who having run at full 
speed one mile and 875 yards, fell down exhausted just five 
yards from the chasm, over which he never got at all. 

But when we reach the beginning of Fredericksburg we 
cannot, with perfect accuracy, say that we have reached 
the land. For, the very earliest accounts we have concern- 
ing the site of the present town confirm the impression made 
by the formation of the hills and flats on both sides of the 
Rappahannock at this point, that at least a part of the land 
now occupied by the town was once covered by the water 
of the river. Captain John Smith, the hero of the settle- 
ment of Virginia, and a man whose career was worthy of 
the In-ightest days of knight-errantry, came up the Rappa- 
hannock in 1608 (one year after the settlement of James- 
town) in an open boat of three tons burden, with a picked 
crew of twelve men, and acconi{)anied by an Indian named 
Mosco from one of the tribes on the Potomac. They found 
the Rappahannocs the most courageous and formidable sav- 
ages they had yet encountered. As they sailed up, a shower 
of arrows would pour on them from the bushes on the shore, 
in which these Indians had ingeniously concealed them- 
selves, and nothing but the willow targets obtained from 
the Massawomacs saved them from destruction. 

When thev reached the falls, which were higher up the 
river than they now are, they landed and set up crosses and 
carved their names on the bark of trees in token of posses- 
sion and subjugation. As they were rambling carelessly 
through the woods they were suddenly attacked by about 
one hundred Indians, who shot their arrows with great pre- 
cision, and ran rapidly from tree to tree to protect their 
bodies from the fatal fire of musketry. A running fight of 
half an hour was kept up, wdien the Indians jnysteriously 
disappeared, leaving, however, one of their number so se- 
verely wounded in the knee by a musket-ball that he could 
not get off". Smith, with difficulty and not without threats, 


saved the life of this wounded savage from Mosco, who earn- 
estly asked the privilege of dashing out his brains. 

The expanse of water just below the falls was then so 
wide that the boat of Captain Smith, when near the middle 
of the river, was beyond effective range either of the Indian 
arrows or of the English muskets. Something like a lake 
must in fact then have covered the Stafford flats and a part 
of those of the Spotsylvania side. Yet we need not be sur- 
prised at the change which has occurred in the 272 years 
that have passed. Even the grandparents of the present 
generation lived in a time when large barques and schooners 
heavily laden were able to ascend the river to Falmouth; 
and there to discharge their cargoes and receive return car- 
goes of wheat and tobacco. And some of us are able, by 
our personal memories, to ascend to the times when the 
river was much wider and deeper than now. Therefore 
the feat attributed to George AVashington, Ijy a tradition 
much more reliable than that of the cherry-tree and the 
hatchet, that he threw a stone across the river at a point 
on the bank which skirted the Washington farm, was a 
greater triumj)h of muscular strength and dexterity than 
such a performance would now be. 

When Smith had his fight with the Rappahannocs, a few 
Indian wigwams and lodges near the crest of the open hills, 
or on the wooded ridges, M'ere the only evidences of a town 
that the vicinity of Fredericksburg presented. But, as the 
Anglo-Saxon race gradually advanced m their settlements, 
and especially after the complete overthrow of the aged 
chief Opecancanough and his savage foes, in 1644, by Sir 
William Berkeley, the Indians began to retire from the 
rivers, and civilized settlers began to take their phace. 
From this time, we have only dim and unreliable traditions 
concerning the rise of the town until the year 1727, one 
hundred and fifty-three years ago. x\.t this point we gain 
clear and definite light, proving that the town was not only 
in existence, but had risen to a respectable point in popula- 
tion and trade. In this year (1727) old George the First 
died. He was, as you know, a native of Germany, and 
was Elector of Hanover, when he was elevated to the Brit- 
ish throne in right of his mother, the Princess Sophia, of 


Mecklenburg Strelitz, who was then the only Protestant 
lineal descendant of James the First. George the First 
was not fond of England ; sjient as little time there as pos- 
sible; spent most of his time near his native town of Osna- 
burg, in Hanover, where he at last died. He never could, 
to the day of his death, utter twelve consecutive, intelligible 
English words. He hated his son George, Prince of Wales, 
and hated the noble and charming woman, Wilhehnina 
Dorathea Caroline, of Brandenl)urg, Princess of Wales, for 
no better reason than that evei'ybody else loved her. He 
even went so far as to try to separate Geoi'ge, Prince of 
Wales, from his family, and especially from his oldest son, 
Frederic, from whom our old city of Fredericksburg has 
her name. This Frederic was born long before the death 
of his grandfather, old George the First, and as he grew to 
maturity, developed qualities wliich caused affection, if not 
esteem. He never became King himself, having died in 
tlie lifetime of his fatlier, but his son became George the 
Third, to whose mingled obstinacy and insanity we are in- 
debted for American independence. 

In the same year in which George the First died and 
George the Second became King — that is in 1727 — Fred- 
ericksburg became a town by law and received its name by 
a solenm act of christening, performed by the Lieutenant- 
Governor, Council and Burgesses of the then existing Gen- 
eral Assembly. It was not, however, then incorporated as 
a town. It w'as not entitled to a corporate council or a 
hustings court. Having been previously a village or col- 
lection of dwelling houses, inhabited by a variety of people, 
it was made a town, according to a policy of the government 
of Virginia, which we now look backtow^ith some surprise. 
You know well that the tendency of the social system in 
Virginia, at least up to the time of the late war, was to 
country life, and not to tlie growth of towns. On their 
great landed estates, with their abundant means, their slaves 
and dependents, the gentlemen of the Colony, and after- 
wards of the Commonwealth, looked upcm town life with 
something like aversion, and never sought the towns except 
for temporary business or pleasure. The General Assem- 
bly sought to antagonize this tendency. They sought to do 

feedericksburg: past, present and future. 7 

a thing impossible — that is to make towns by statute-law. 
Towns cannot be made by statute-law any more than money 
can be made by statute-law. Towns and cities arise and 
swell and grow to greatness under laws which are not made 
by legislatures, but by the social and business wants of men. 
Hence we now read with amazement the numerous acts of 
assembly of the Colonial period by which nominal towns 
were established in nearly every county, and on nearly every 
river or considerable run. William Waller Hening, who 
has collected those acts, ridicules their policy and calls the 
designated spots by the appropriate name of ' ' paper towns. ' ^ 
They existed on paper and generally had no other existence. 
Thus one of them was declared in the statute to exist in the 
county of Stafford, on what w^as called Potomac neck, a spot 
where no town has ever existed in fact, and where the only 
dwellings have been the holes of muskrats and the lurking 
places ot catfish, and the only inhabitants fish-hawks, snakes 
and mosquitoes. 

But Fredericksburg was already a substantial town be- 
fore the act of assembly gave it a name. It is interesting 
to note, however, that at that time, and for many years 
afterwards, rights of dedication of private property to pub- 
lic purposes were claimed and exercised by the Colony gov- 
ernment, which would not be now held to be legitimate. 
The act in question vested in trustees for the town fifty acres 
of land lying along the south side of the river (Rappahan- 
nock), in the county of Spotsylvania, which land was part 
of a tract belonging to John Royston and Robert Buckner, 
of the county of Gloucester, and the act directs that these 
fifty acres shall be surve}ed and laid out in lots and streets, 
and shall be sold; and that out of the proceeds the trustees 
shall pay John Royston and Robert Buckner for their land 
at the rate of forty shillings per acre. It does not appear 
that any process of valuation-, or of condemnation had taken 
l^lace, or that the consent of the owners had been obtained. 
And when we remember that the price to be paid was only 
about eight dollars per acre, and that land outside of Fred- 
ericksburg has been sold, since the war, at more than eight 
times this rate per acre, this proceeding of the Gentlemen 
Burgesses seems to be tolerably aibitrary, and to be a dim 


foreshadowing of what is now known as forcible readjust- 
tnent. And it is worthy of remark that fifteen years after- 
wards this arbitrary proceeding is repeated. It appears 
that George Home, the surveyor of Spotsylvania county, 
did, as required, survey the fifty acres and laid it out in 
streets and lots, and returned a plan thereof to the trustees, 
who made sales according to the previous act; but the 
original bounds not being accurately observed and the pur- 
chasers building very irregularly, the trustees found it 
necessary to Iiave another survey and plat in Marcli, 1 739, 
which was made by William AValler, surveyor of Spotsyl- 
vania county; and by this new survey it ap})earod that the 
lots and buildings of the town had not only occupied the 
original fifty acres, but had also occupied two hundred 
and forty-three square poles of land in the lower end of 
the town belonging to Henry Willis, Gentleman, of the 
county of Spotsylvania, and two hundred and twenty square 
poles in the upper end of the town belonging to John 
Lewis, Gentleman, and formerly l)eloiiging to JNIr. Francis 
Thornton. And as law suits and many controversies Avere 
threatened, the Lieutenant Governor, Council and Bur- 
gesses of the General Assembly passed an act in May, 1742, 
which was declared to be " for removing all doubts and 
controversies" and which declared that these lands be- 
longing to the estate of Henry Willis and to John Lewis, 
should be held and taken to be part of Fredericksburg, 
and vested in the trustees and purchasers, claiming under 
them, provided that the trustees should pay to the execu- 
tors of Henry Willis five pounds and to John Lewis fifteen 
pounds before the 25th of December. This act of the 
Colonial Government does not appear to have been made 
with the consent of the Willis family or of John Lewis, 
and it made a distinction between the supposed value of 
land in the upper and the lower end of the town which is 
to us, at this time, inexplicable. But its validity seems to 
have been tacitly admitted, as we find no protests or com- 
plaints, and it is to be presumed that these gentlemen, 
Royston, Buckner, Willis and Lewis, whose lands were 
thus unceremoniously dedicated to public uses, were willing 
(being owners of large tracts) to help forward the town 


and to sell the lands on which it stood at a price which, al- 
tliough apparently low, may have been a fair representative 
of values at that time. Thus, the old town went forward in 
her course. Ilcr area, as ascertained in IToO, was not 
quite fifty-three acres; and when it is borne in mind that 
her present area, within her legal bounds, is about eight 
hundred acres, .*ome proximate idea of her expansion within 
130 years maybe obtained. 

In November, 1738, two fairs were provided for, to be 
held annually in Fredericksburg, on the first Tuesdays in 
June and October, which times were changed in May, 
1740, to the Wednesdays next after the court days of the 
county, in June and October. These fairs continued, by 
law, two days each, and were for the sale of all manner 
of cattle, victuals, provisions, goods, wares, and merchan- 
dise; and on the fair days, and for two days before and 
two days afterwards, all persons coming to, attending or 
going from the fair with their cattle, goods, wares and 
merchandise were exempted from all arrests or ex-ecutions, 
except for capital offences, breaclies of the peace, or for 
controversies, suits and quarrels arising during the progress 
of the fairs. And so beneficial both to town and county 
w'ere these fairs found to be that the term of two years 
originally provided, was continued by successive laws for 
a long period. 

The style of building frequently adopted in the town 
could not have been cither safe or elegant. For, we find 
that in May, 1742, it was represented to the Assembly 
that the peo[)le were often in great and imminent danger 
of having their houses and effects burned by reason of 
the many wooden chimneys in the town, and, therefore, 
from that time it was made unlawful to build any w^ooden 
chimneys thereafter, and unlawful, after the expiration of 
three }ears, to use any wooden chimney already built; and 
in case the owners did not, within the three years, i)ull 
down and destroy these wooden chimneys, the sheriff was 
autliorized to do so. And by w'ay of killing two hurtful 
bii'ds with one stone, the same act made it unlawful for 
owners of swine to permit them to run or go at large in 
the town, and if any such animals were found running or 


goiug at large, any person was authorized to kill them; 
but the slayer was not to convert the body of the animal 
to his own use, but to leave it where killed, and inform 
the owner; and if no owner was known, then the nearest 
justice of the peace was authorized to order the body to 
the use of the poor, or persons he might select. Thus, 
early in Fredericksburg began tlie war on roving creatures, 
and I need not tell you through what "sad varieties of 
woe " to hogs, dogs and geese it has at sundry times passed. 

Under these fostering influences the town grew in popu- 
lation, in prosperity and in the intelligence and public 
spirit of its iidiabitants. Its leading peojile were among 
the very hrst in Virginia to adopt the principle that the 
American Colonies ought not only to be exempt from 
taxation Iiy the mother country, but to be free and inde- 
pendent States. At a time when many of the ablest 
statesmen in Virginia, including such men as Richard 
Bland, Robert Carter Nicholas, Edmoud Pendleton, 
George IMason, Thomas Ludwell Lee, Carter Braxton, 
and Benjamin Harrison were shrinking back from the 
very thought of attempting to achieve our independence, 
the people of Fredericksburg were far in advance of such 
statesmen in forecasting the future. The evidence on this 
subject is conclusive, and is such as may well inspire every 
son and daughter of Fredericksburg with emotions of 
honest pride. 

On the 20th day of April, 1775, one day after the battle 
of Lexington, in Massachusetts, Lord Dunmore removed 
twenty barrels of gunpowder from the public magazine in 
Williamsbui'g, and soon afterwards fled with his wife and 
some of his domestics and took refuge in tlie Englisli 
frigate "Fowey," then lying at Yorktown. When the 
news of that battle and of the removal of the powder 
reached Fredericksburg, great excitement ])revailed. 
Measures were speedily devised for collecting and arming 
the people. Six hundred men, well armed and in flue 
discipline, assembled in Fredericksburg at the call of their 
officers. Many of them were from the counties of Spotsyl- 
vania and Caroline. After assembling, they dispatched 
delesrates to ascertain the condition of things at Williams- 


burg. Those remaining in Fredericksburg held a public 
meeting, consisting of one hundred and two persons — 
citizens, soldiers and delegates to the Assembly; and on 
the 29th of April, 1775, that meeting adopted resolutions 
which were in form and substance tantamount to a declar- 
ation of American independence. Though they deprecate 
civil war, yet, considering the liberties of America to be 
in danger, they pledged themselves to reassemble at a 
moment's warning, and, by force of arms, to defend the 
rights of "this or any sister Colony; " and they concluded 
with the sentence: "God save the liberties of America! "_ 
These resolutions were passed twenty-one days before the 
celebrated Mecklenburg declaration in North Carolina, 
and one year and sixty-hve days before the declaration of 
inde])endence of the American Congress. That they indi- 
cated the presence of strange intellectual activity and 
foresight in the people of this town, revealed at a com- 
paratively early period, I think it unreasonable to deny. 
And in the subsequent struggle of the revolution many 
of her citizens bore a heroic part, and one of her physi- 
cians, General Hugh Mercer, sealed with his blood, at 
the battle of Princeton, his devotion to Amei-ican inde- 

In 1782, one year before the close of the revolutionary 
war, Fredericksburg received a regular act of incorpor- 
ation and was endowed with a common council and a 
hustings court. The MS. record of the latter, of date 
15th of April, 1782, gives the first action of the court, 
which is not without interest. The justices who held the 
first court were Charles JNIortimer, William JM. Williams, 
James Somerville, Charles Dick, Samuel Roddy and John 
Julian. They were all regularly qualified and sworn in. 
John Legg was appointed sergeant of the corporation, 
John Richards and James Jarvis, constables; John Hardy, 
clerk of the market and inspector of flour. Five persons 
were authorized to keep taverns in the town, and it is 
worthy of note that these gentlemen were all men of re- 
spectability and excellent standing, some of them bearing 
names which are still known among us, and are representa- 
tives of our most reputable families. The name " hotel " 


was not known then in Fredericksburg. They were all 

The next action of the court is significant as bearing 
testimony to the convival habits already in full life in the 
town, and to which I shall have occasion farther to allude. 
A regular tariff of prices was established for alcoholic, 
fermented and vinous beverages. To save my hearers 
trouble, and to make values more intelligible, I shall not 
in this lecture, in general, use the original quotations in 
pounds, shillings and pence, but shall at once translate 
them into their equivalents in dollars and cents. The 
tariff confined the tavern-keepers to certain prices, which 
they were not to exceed, and it is noteworthy that the 
limits are not given for a wine-glass full or even for a 
tumbler full, but for a gallon! These prices are as fol- 
lows: For good West India rum per gallon, $3.34; for 
brandy, $1.67 (this, I think, could not have been Cognac 
or even peach, and was probably apple brandy) ; for 
whiskey, ll.OO; for strong beer, 67 cents; for rum toddy, 
$1.67; for brandy toddy, $1.25; for rum punch, $2.50; 
for brandy punch, $2.00; for rum grog, $1.00; for brandy 
grog, 84 cents; for Madeira wine per bottle, $1.25; for 
port wine per bottle, (J7 cents. This port could hardly have 
been the genuine article of Oporto, which was probably 
then becoming scarce, and which is now almost unknown, 
although it has been happily substituted by the now far- 
famed port wine of Califoruia. Having thus limited 
the prices on drinking, the court next proceeds to limit the 
price for eating, and they fix the price of a single diet, as 
they call it, at 25 cents — certainly a very moderate price 
according to our modern standards. This taritt' of bever- 
ages was somewhat altered by a new order entered on the 
27th of June, 1782, but it remained substantially the 
same, and the law of the taverns for a number of years. 

Nearly at the same time we find in the MS. records of 
the will books in the Hustings Court distinct evidence that 
the estates of men, whether living or dead, Avere held to a 
subjection for their just debts, which, in these enlightened 
days, would be considered out of the question. In the 
record of the inventory and appraisement of the personalty 


of Jonathan AVilson, deceased, I find that the oath of the 
appraisers was taken August 31, and the appraisement was 
returned to the court September 16, 1782. This was while 
the war was not yet ended. In this appraisement I find 
recorded one silver watch, -S26.67; one cow and yearling, 
$16.67; one suit broadcloth clothes, $13.34; one other suit 
broadcloth, $6.67; three blue coats, $10; seven pair of white 
breeches, $11.67; five white vests, $11.67; one shirt, 67 
cents; six pair of stockings, $1.67 ; two pair of shoes, $3.00; 
three hats, $3.00; one stock buckle, 50 cents; three brushes, 
50 cents. And what is more important, it appears by the 
record that these articles were all sold and the net proceeds 
applied to the payment of Jonathan Wilson's debts. So 
that this gentlemen, who left behind him only one shirt, 
but who left seven pairs of white breeches and five white 
vests, for all of which he probably owed his dry goods mer- 
chant and his tailor, had the satisfaction (in the invisible 
world) of knowing that all he left was applied to the pay- 
ment of his just debts. Those were the good old days — 
days of high living and of hard drinking it may be — but 
days of honesty, Avhen repudiation of just debts was a thing 

Thus Fredericksburg jogged on her way through many 
years, always merrily and often prosperously, during the 
period which intervened between the close of the revolu- 
tionary war and the establishment of the early railroad lines 
in Virginia. Although one of these roads made our town 
its northern terminus for a series of years, and was never 
intended to injure her, yet it is undoubtedly true that this 
road, with the extension of the Louisa road and its union 
with the Orange & Alexandria road, and the gradual ad- 
vance of the Baltimore & Ohio railroad along the upper 
lines of the Shenandoah Valley, did injure the trade of 
Fredericksburg by diverting from her a large amount of 
produce — wheat, flour, tobacco, corn, bacon, and butter — 
which formerly found their way in wagons into the streets 
of the town. 

In accordance with the expressed wishes of a number of 
gentlemen, it is deemed proper here to insert the historical 
narrative of 

14 fredeiucksburg: past, present and future. 

Fredericksburg in the War. 

No one Avho knew anything of the habits and character 
of the people of our town had any doubt as to the part they 
would take in the late civil >var. They were, with few and 
abnormal exceptions, thoroughly Avith the South. In the 
early movements in 18(31, looking to a defence of the line 
of approach by the Potomac and Aquia creek, volunteers 
from the town were soon organized, and with other forces 
under Brigadier-General Daniel Ruggles and Commanders 
Lynch, Minor and Thorburn, prepared batteries and made 
brave defence against the gunboats which occasionally as- 
saulted them. All the young men of suitable age and 
health soon left the town as volunteers in the Thirtieth Vir- 
«;inia reu'iment, nnder Colonel Robert S. Chew, and the bat- 
tery known through the war as the Fredericksburg Artil- 
lery, long commanded by Colonel Carter Braxton. Only 
the older men, the women and the colored people were left 
in the town by the spring of 1862. 

For many of the subsequent scenes of the war we have 
the rare advantage of being able to refer, not merely to 
casual hearsay accounts, or even official reports which rarely 
give anything more than a cold skeleton, but, also, to the 
narratives of eye-witnesses, endowed with intelligence and 
feeling, who actually looked on and bore their part in these 
scenes. To the MS. journal of a Fredericksburg lady I 
am under special obligations, and shall use it freely in con- 
tinuing this historical sketch. 

On the 27th of April, 1862, the town first fell into the 
hands of the Federal military forces. The MS. account 
thus describes the event: 

" Fredericksburg is a captured town ! The enemy took possession 
of the Stafford hills, which command the town, on Friday, the 18th, 
and their guns have frowned down upon us ever since. Fortunately 
for us, our troops were enabled to burn the bridges connecting our 
town with tlie StaHbrd shore, and thus saved us the presence of the 
Northern soldiers in our midst ; but our relief from this annoyance 
will not be long, as tliey have brought boats to the wharf, and will of 
course be enabled to cross at their pleasure. It is painfully humiliat- 
ing to feel oneself a captive, but all sorrow for self is now lost in the 
deeper feeling of anxiety for oin- army, for our cause! We have lost 


everything ; regained nothing ; our army lias fallen back before the 
superior forces of the enemy, until but a small strip of our dear Old 
Dominion is left to us. Our sons are all in the field, and we, who 
are now in the hands of the enemy, cannot even hear from them. 
Must their precious young lives be sacrificed, their homes made deso- 
late, our cause be lost, and all our rigiits be trampled under the foot 
of a vindictive foe? Gracious God, avert from us these terrible ca- 
lamities I Rise in Thy Majesty and Strength and rebuke our ene- 

"We heard this morning, from Rev. Mr. Tucker Lacy, a sermon 
from the text, ' The Lord God omnipotent reigneth ; ' and right gladly 
our hearts welcome the truth in its grandeur and strength, wlien we 
are sinking into despondency, and feeling the weakness of all human 

It is due to the cause of truth to state that tlie United 
States military rule in Fredericksburg during the war was, 
with some noted exceptions, considerately and even kindly 
exercised. The provost command soon fell into the hands 
of General Patrick, who proved himself to be a man of 
genial benevolence and discrimination, although he was 
firm and decided in his policy. Under his government 
the people of Fredericksburg Avere not oppressed, and 
many of her citizens conceived sincere respect for his 
character. Even the colored people were not encouraged 
to acts of insolence or insubordination. It is true that 
when they chose to use their newly acquired freedom and 
leave their former service they could do so, but to their 
honor be it said, that many of them endured, with families 
they loved, all the subsequent trying hardships of the war. 

But after McClellan's great disaster in the seven days 
battles around Richmond, and after the Federal powers 
had placed at the head of their armies the empty, boasting 
and unscrupulous General Pope, who advanced through 
Fauquier and Culpeper with his "headquarters in the 
saddle," and his announced purpose to subsist his army 
by enforced supplies from his enemies, a great change for 
the worse took place, which was speedily felt in Freder- 
icksburg and its neighborhood. The MS. journal notes 
this change thus: 

*' July 23. — The first news we heard this morning was that four 
of our citizens, Mr. Thomas B. Barton, Mr. Thomas F. Knox, Mr. 
Charles C. Wellford and Mr. Beverly T. Gill, had been arrested and 
sent North. We have no information why. The recent orders of 

1() fkederickskurg: past, present and future. 

Secretary Stanton and General Pope make it api)ear that we are not 
to be treated with the least leniency hereafter. ( )nr provost marshal 
has been changed becan<e he was ' loo kind to the rebels,' and they 
are now doing everything they can to persecnte and annoy ns. All 
the stores in town are closed to-day to prevent us from getting any 
supplies, and tliey have been sending their wagons around to every- 
bod^^'s farm in the neighborhood taking tiieir hay and other pro- 
ducts. I am afraid my poor brother will have nothing left for his 
winter supply." 

But these annoyances did not long endure. Tlie de- 
cisive overthrow given to the Federal army under General 
Pope, by General Lee, in the second battle of ^lanassas, 
was speedily followed by the advance of the Confederate 
armies into Maryland, the capture of Harper's Ferry with 
eleven thousand prisoners and immense military supplies 
by General Stonewall Jackson, and the bloody but unde- 
cided struggle between Lee and McClellan on the borders 
of the Antietam. So far from l)eing able to hold the line 
of the Rappahannock, the Federal authorities found that 
they needed every available soldier to prevent the loss of 
their own territory. Fredericksburg was evacuated by 
them on the 31st of August, 1862. The scenes are thus 
described by the MS. journal : 

"September 1. — After writing the last entry in my journal yester- 
day, several exciting events occurred. The rain poured down all the 
morning, but ceased about noon, and after dinner we went to church 
to iiear Mr. Lacy. We found crowds at the corners of the streets, 
and some unusual excitement prevailing ; and we saw clouds of smoke 
rising from tlie encampments on the opposite side of the river. We 
went on to the Baptist church, where we found a small audience; we 
had a short sermon, and when we came out we walked down several 
squares towards the bridges. Everything indicated an immediate 
departure ; the guards were drawn up in line ; the liorses and wagons 
packed at headquarters; cavalry officers rode up and down giving 
orders; company after company of pickets were led into town from 
the different roads and joined the regiment at the City Hall ; am- 
bulances with the sick moved slowly through the streets ; and, as we 
stood watching, we saw the officer who acted as provost raai>hal of 
the town ride by witli his adjutant, and, in a few moments, as we 
stood watching, the command was given to march, and away went in- 
fantry down one street and cavalry down another to the bridge. It 
was very quietly done ; there was no music — no drum ; not a voice 
broke upon the air except the officers' 'Forward march!' It was 
certainly rather difficult to repress the exultation ofthe ladies as they 
stood in groups along the streets ; but strong feeling was at work. 


and perhaps it was easier to repress any outward manifestations of it 
than if it had been slighter. I felt glad to be relieved of the presence 
of the enemy, and to be freed from the restraints of their power; 
glad to be once more within Sonthern lines, and to lie broughi into 
commiuiication witii onr own dear peojile. But the great gladness 
was that the evacuation of Fredericksburg showed that they had been 
defeated up the country and could no longer hold the line of the 
Rappahannock. And this gave us strong hope that Virginia might 
yet be free from the armies of the intruder. We had scarcely reached 
home when a thundering sound shook the house, and we knew it was 
the blowing up of the bridges. Several explosions followed, and soon 
the bright iiames leaped along the sides and Hoorsof the bridges and 
illuminated the whole scene within the bounds of the horizon; the 
burning continued all night, and our sluml>ers were disturbed by fre- 
quent explosions of gunpowder placed mider the two bridges. K 

went out with his gun and joined the guard which it was deemed 
proper to organize for the protection of the town against any strag- 
glers or unruly persons who might chance to be prowling about. The 
first thing I heard this morning was that my two servants, Martha 
and Susan, had returned, and requested permission to engage in their 
usual work." 

"Sept. 2. — About two hundred people came into town to-day from 
the surrounding country, and general cmigratalations ensued. Some 
of our cavalry rode into town this evening and were received with 
shouts of joy; the ladies lined the streets, waving their handkerchiefs 
and loudly uttering their welcome." 

"Sept.4. — Sent my poi'tion of the soldiers' breakfast to Hazel run 

by J and S , who came back with a great ac<ount of the way 

the soldiers were feasted on hot rolls, beefsteak and coflee, and their 
enjoyment of the good things after so long an abstinence. 

" We attended yesterday evening the funeral of our old and be- 
loved citizen, Doctor John B. Hall. While standing around thegrave, 
the sound of the bugle and the tramp of cavalry horses fell upon our 
ears, and very soon a troop of seven hundred horsemen appeared; 
they were our own 'greys.' We could have told it by their gallant 
bearing if it had not been revealed by their dress. The air was rent 
with shouts. As we came home the streetc were filled with excited 
people, and everybody's face was lighted up with a glad smile." 

From the presence and dominion of troops, 
Fredericksburg was thus for a time relieved. But the sea- 
son of comparative quiet thus enjoyed did not long con- 
tinue. Again the horrors of war closed over her in their 
most appalling form. 

In November, 18G2, the army under General Lee was 
confronting the "Army of the Potomac" under General 
Ambrose Burnside, who had taken command upon the 
removal of McClellan. Knowing that a movement upon 


Richmond was intended, the Confederate commander 
keenly watched his adversary, to determine what line of 
approach he would adopt. It was soon apparent. On the 
10th of November a small body of Federal cavalry, under 
Captain Ulrich Dahlgren (a son of the admiral command- 
ing the fleet of South Carolina), dashed into the streets of 
Fredericksburg. A few Southern horsemen were there, 
V'ho, although at first dispersed, quickly rallied, and aided 
by some adventurous citizens, attacked the raiders. Their 
object being merely a reconnoissance, they soon withdrew, 
with the loss of a few men and horses. Immediately after- 
wards the Federal army began to move down from Fau- 
quier and Prince Willian), through Stafford county, to 
occupy Fredericksburg. r4eneral Lee gave prompt warn- 
ing to Colonel Wm. A. Ball, who with a small cavalry 
force held the town, directing him, if possible, to retard 
the enemy, and informing him that he would soon be 
reinfin'ced. The divisions of McLaws and Ransom, with 
W. H. F. Lee's brigade of cavalry and Lane's battery, 
were put in rapid motion for the threatened point, and the 
whole Confederate army prepared to follow. 

Colonel Ball had already proved his courage and skill 
upon the field of Leesburg and in other encounters; he 
now gave a signal exanijole of what may be done with a 
small force by a resolute front. On Sunday, the 16th, his 
scouts announced the approach of the enemy on three 
roads — the Warrenton, Stafford Courthouse and Poplar. 
He telegraphed to General Gustavus W. Smith in Rich- 
mond, that if he would send him two companies of infantry 
he would engage the enemy if they sought to cross the 
fords of the Rappahannock near Fredericksburg. General 
Smith promptly sent him a battalion of four companies, 
under Major Finney, from the Forty-second Mississippi. 
Colonel Ball placed these in the mill-race aud mill opposite 
Falmouth, stationed his cavalry in the upper part of Fred- 
ericksburg, and planted CVxptain Lewis' battery of four 
guns and eighty men on the plateau around the residence 
of Mrs. Fitzgerald, half a mile above the town. His 
whole force did not exceed five hundred and twenty men. 

At 10 o'clock on Monday, the 17th, the Southern scouts 


were driven across the river by the enemy's cavalry, and 
in four hours thereafter the whole Federal corps under 
General Sumner, twelve thousand strong, appeared on the 
Stafford Heights ojiposite Fredericksburg, and ])lanted 
their field-batteries, consisting of more tlian twenty guns. 
In the face of their rapid and accurate firing, Lewis' men 
stoutly maintained their ground and replied. The distance 
did not exceed eight hundred yards. Finding the exposure 
too great. Colonel Ball withdrew the pieces and artillerists 
under the shelter of Mrs. Fitzgerald's house, which was 
pierced through and through by the enemy's shot; yet the 
Southern fire w'as maintained, and the Federals, uncertain 
as to the force before them, made no attempt to cross the 

It seemed rash to remain, and all of Colonel Ball's 
oflRcers, except Adjutant Dickinson, earnestly advised him 
to withdraw. But he refused, and telegraphed to General 
Smith that he would hold his position while a man was 
left to him. General Smith replied: " Give them the best 
fight you have in you;" and General Lee telegraphed: 
" Hold your position if you can ; reinforcements are hurry- 
ing to you." Thus encouraged. Colonel Ball maintained 
his front Avith five hundred men in the face of the twelve 

On Tuesday the enemy's force was largely increased; 
Burnside's whole army was pouring down to the Stafford 
hills. Colonel Ball received a reinforcement of the Nor- 
folk Light Artillery and the Sixty-first Virginia regiment, 
amounting together to about five hundred men. He re- 
lieved the wearied infantry at the mill and the artillerists 
at Mrs. Fitzgerald's, and still faced the enemy. They 
were waiting for pontoon bridges and did not cross. 

Meanwhile General Lee's army was rushing down the 
roads from Culpeper and Orange to occupy the crest of 
hills around Fredericksburg. Wednesday, at daybreak, 
Fitzhugh Lee's cavalry arrived; the next morning General 
McLaws, with his own division and that of General Ran- 
som, were in position, and on the 20th the Commander-in- 
Chief was at hand to direct the movements of the corps of 
Longstreet and Jackson, which rapidly followed him. 


On Thursday, the 20th of November, by request of 
General Lee, Montgomery Shiughter, mayor of Fredericks- 
burg, accompanied by the recorder, Wm. A. Little, and 
by Douglas H. Gordon, a member of her council, held an 
interview with the Confederate Commander-in-Chief. It 
was held during a driving rain at Snowden, the residence 
of John L. 8tansbury, about a mile from town. The 
mayor and his companions asked the aid and advice of 
General Lee in the terrible crisis now at hand. He was 
grave and serious, but, as always, kind and considerate. 
He did not conceal the dangers threatening the town from 
the collision of two great armies. At the close of the 
interview Mayor Slaughter said: "Then, General Lee, I 
understand the people of the town must fear the worst." 
He replied: "Yes, they must fear the worst." With 
these final words, the town authorities were turning sadly 
away, when General Longstreet, who had been sitting in 
the conference wrapped in his military great coat streaming 
with rain, rose from his seat and in a deep tone said, " But 
let them hope for the best." A single gleam of sunshine 
fell on the delegates, and they returned to the town. 

On Friday, the 21st, General Sumner of the Federal 
army sent over a flag of truce with a written message to 
the mayor and common council of Fredericksburg. Gen- 
eral Patrick bore the missive, and landed near the rock 
below the deep part of the river known as "French 
John's." Here he was met by Colonel Ball, the Confed- 
erate officer before mentioned, and they entei'ed a log 
house which had been built on the spot, by order of Gen- 
eral Patrick, when formerly in command of the town. 
General Sumner's letter (the original of which I have 
examined) was as follows: 

"Headquarters Right Grand Division^ 
Army of the Potomac, l 

Camp near Falmouth, Va., Nov. 21, 1862. j 
To llu: Matjor and Common Council of Fredericksburg, Va.: 

Gentlemen — Under cover of the houses of yoiu- city, shots have 
been fired npon the troops of my command. Your mills and manu- 
factories are fnrnisiiinfi; provisions and the maierial for clothing for 
armed bodies in rebellion against the (ioverinnent of tlie United 
States. Your railroads and other means of transportation are re- 


moving supplies to tlie depots of such troops. Tliis condition of 
tilings must terminate; and by direction of Maj. -General Burnside, 
commanding this army, I accordingly demand the surrender of the 
city into my hands, as ihe representative of the Government of the 
United States, at or before five o'clock this afternoon (") o'clock 
P. M. to-day). Failing an affirmative reitly to this demand by the 
time indicated, sixteen (16 hours) hours will be permitted to elapse 
for the removal from the city of women and ciiildren, the sick, 
wounded and aged; which period having elapsed, I shall proceed to 
shell the town. 

Upon obtaining possession of the town every necessary means will 
be taken to preserve ortler, and secure the protective operation of 
the laws and policy of the United States Government. 

I am, very resp'y, your ob't servant, 

E. V. Sumner, 

Bvt. Major-General U. S. Army, Coram'g." 

Colonel Ball simply stated that before delivering the 
letter to the civil authorities it must be referred to his 
commandiug military officer. But neither he nor the 
mayor gave any intimation of the actual presence of Gen- 
eral Lee, with a large part of his army, on the ridge in 
rear of the town. The printed statements heretofore pub- 
lished on that point are all erroneous. General Patrick 
was obliged to remain in the log house from 10 A. M. to 
7 P. M. on the 21st. Meanwhile Colonel Ball, through 
the pro])er channels, forwarded the letter to General Lee. 
At twenty minutes before 5 P. M. the letter was received 
at his office by Mayor Slaughter, through General J. E. B. 
Stuart, who communicated, in full, General Lee's decision. 
With the aid of his iidvisers, the mayor prejiared a written 
reply bearing date, "Mayor's office, Fredericksburg, Nov. 
21, 1862." This reply was to the effect that the com- 
munication of General Sumner had not reached the mayor 
in time to furnish a reply by 5 o'clock P. M., as re(|uested; 
that it had been sent to him after passing (by General 
Patrick's consent) through the hands of the commanding 
officer of the Confederate States forces near the town; that 
as to the shots complained of in the northern suburbs, they 
were the acts of the Confederate military force holding the 
town; that the mayor was authorized to say that the several 
subjects of complaint would not j-ecur; but that the Con- 
federate troops would not occuj)y the town, neither would 
they permit the Federal troops to do so. Mayor Slaughter, 


attended by Doctor William S. Scott and Samuel S. Hovvi- 
son, went to the log house and, at about 7 P. M. , delivered 
this reply to General Patrick, who had been long expecting 
it with some impatience, and who indulged in some good 
humored remonstrances at the delay. His military attend- 
ants under the flag of truce having all returned to the 
Federal lines, he was rowed back in a canoe across the 
river by Doctor Scott and Mr. Howison, under a pledge 
for his safety by the mayor. 

In view of the bombardment menaced, and of the cer- 
tainty that their homes would soon be under the fire of 
both armies, General Lee advised the inhabitants to remove 
as rapidly as possible. 

The threatened bombardment was not opened the next 
morning, but it became apparent that the enemy would 
cross, and the town would be exposed not only to their 
fire, but to the most terrible desolations of war. The hu- 
mane and considerate chief of the Confederate army urged 
the women and children to remove, and furnished wagons, 
ambulances, every facility in his power for their aid. Then 
followed a scene illustrating both the horrors of war and 
the virtues to which it sometimes gives birth. The people 
of Fredericksburg almost en masse left their homes rather 
than yield them to the enemy. Trains of cars departed 
full of refugees. Ujjon the last train the enemy opened a 
fire of shells; they afterwards explained that it was a mis- 
take. Wagons and vehicles of every kind left the town 
filled with women and little children, with the few articles 
of apparel and necessity that could be removed. Many 
were seen on foot along the roads leading into the country. 
Winter had commenced; snow had fallen. Many were 
compelled to take refuge in cabins, barns and tents scat- 
tered through the woods and fields. They were dependent 
for food on the exertions of their friends and the humane 
efforts of the Southern army. 

Fredericksburg was an old Virginia town, long distin- 
guished for the refinement and intelligence of its people 
and the beauty of its women. The sight of such a popula- 
tion driven out from their homes in the winter excited the 
sympathy, and admiration of the South. General Lee's 


testimony was: "History presents no instance of a people 
exhibiting a purer or more unselfish patriotism, or a higher 
spirit of fortitude and courage, than was evinced by the 
people of Fredericksburg. They cheerfully incurred great 
hardships and privations, and surrendered their homes and 
property to destruction, rather than yield them into the 
hands of the enemies of their country." A movement to 
aid them was commenced in Richmond. A committee of 
relief and treasurer were appointed. Funds were liberally 
contributed throughout the whole South. The array vied 
with the people in furnishing money for the distressed 
refugees. From the Commander-in-Chief down to the 
humblest private in the ranks, the brave men who had 
fought the battles now devoted their hard-earned money to 
the cause of humanity. The division of General Hood 
gave more than .$9,000; the cavalry under General Stuart 
gave nearly $8,000, of which $5,400 were contributed by 
the brigade of Fitzhugh Lee; the Thirteenth Mississippi 
regiment gave $1,600; the small naval force at Drury's 
Blufl' gave nearly $800, and other bodies contributed in 
like proportion. The contributions of the people and army 
continued until more than ninety thousand dollars had 
been received and disbursed by the committee in Richmond, 
and nearly an equal sum by the mayor of Fredericksburg. 
The relief given by the purchase and supply of food and 
clothing was most seasonable. Yet it could not compensate 
for broken hearts and desolated homes. 

A few families remained in Fredericksburg, determined 
to brave the terrors of war as long as possible. The hills 
of Stafi^brd are higher than the corresponding crest on the 
south side of the river. The enemy had planted six bat- 
teries of heavy guns, consisting of 20-pound Parrots, and 
siege pieces throwing 85-pound shells, on the hills from 
Falmouth to Deep Run, in distance from Fredericksburg 
varying from six hundred to two thousand yards, and 
these, with their numerous field batteries, commanded not 
only the town, but the river for four miles up and down 
the line of hills. Perceiving that he could not prevent 
them from crossing under the fire of their guns. General 
Lee determined to meet them as they advanced over the 


plateau between the river and the ridge of hills south and 
west of Fredericksburg. For this purpose he occupied 
the crest with his army, and erected heavy batteries at the 
most eligible positions. His line ran from the river, a mile 
and a half above the town, to the railroad crossing at 
Hamilton's, four miles below. Longstreet's corps rested 
its left wing on the river; next was A. P. Hill's division; 
and Jackson's corps was at Hamilton's, with D. H. Hill, 
observing the enemy at Port Royal. General Hampton's 
cavalry guarding the upper Rappahannock, crossed, and 
on the 28th of November made a sudden descent upon the 
Federal horse at Dumfries, capturing two squadrons and a 
number of wagons with stores. At the same time some of 
Colonel's Beale's cavalry crossed in boats below Port 
Royal and captured several prisoners. Excited by these 
bold movements the enemy's gunboats moved up and threw 
shells into Port Royal, but were driven oft with damage on 
tlie 5th of December by the accurate tire of Major Pel- 
ham's artillery. 

These skirmishes were soon followed by the grand move- 
ment of the enemy. Having at length received his pontoon 
bridges, General Burnside prepared to throw his army 
across the river. At two o'clock in the morning of Thurs- 
day, the 11th of December, his troops were in motion, 
and three signal guns in General Lee's works sounded a 
note of warning to the people and the army. The enemy 
commenced throwing thi-ce j)ontoon bridges across the 
river, two at Fredericksburg and one at Deep Run, a mile 
and a quaiter below. 

The brigade of General l>arksdale held the town. The 
Seventeenth Mississippi, aided by the Eighth Florida, 
guarded the upper crossing; tiie Eighteenth was near Deep 
Run. As the enemy appeared on their unfinished bridge 
opposite the town, Genei-al Rarksdale's men opened a se- 
vei'e nuisk(!try fire, picking them oft' with great rapidity. 
Hardly had this tire commenced before the enemy's heavy 
batteries opened the long threatened bombardment of 
Fredericksburg. Their fteld batteries soon followed, and 
for twelve hours a horrible deluge of shells and shot was 
poured upon the streets and houses. The few i-emaining 

fredekicksburg: past, present and future. 25 

inhabitants fled to their cellar.^, and sought to save their 
lives from the storm which was beating their homes to 
pieces. Many houses were burned; among them was the 
residence of the postmaster, Reuben T. Thom. He was 
old and enfeebled by illness, yet he retained his courage, 
and when his house was burning he took his seat in a chair 
in his yard, seeming to defy the torrents of deadly missiles. 
His friends with difficulty removed him from his ruined 

The scenes of terror and danger passing in the town were 
pictured in a letter from a lady to her son in the army. 
She had remained until the bombardment. She wrote: 

"Our lives are all spared, and you must help us to adore the 
goodness which has intervened between us and the great perils to 
which we have been exposed. We had no warning of the intention 
of the enemy, and were awakened on the morning of the 11th, at 
five o'clock, by the booming of the cannon, and lieard instantly that 
the enemy were crossing the river. We hurried on our clothes and 
rushed into the cellar as the second sliot struck the house. The 
servants made up a tire, and we had just gatliered around it when 
the crashing of ghiss and splintering of wood caused us to run 
towards the door leading to the wood cellar. As we reached it, poor 

little S exclaimed, '1 am struck, Ma!' and fell into my arms. 

We bore him into a closet in the cellar and tore his clothes oH' and 
found only a large black bruise on his right arm near the shoulder; 
the ball which struck him was so nearly spent that it had only force 
left to inllict this hurt. We afterwards found the ball near where 
he stood — a twelve-pounder. After this we did not venture even 
into that room again, but sat crouched together in the dark hole for 
thirteen hours, while the cannonading was tearing everything to 
pieces above our heads. There are holes In the up-talrs rooms large 

enough to put a barrel through. About one o'clock Brother J 

came in from his farm, at th risk of his life, to see if we could be 
moved. A hasty council was held, but the tiring was so tremendous 
and the destruction in the streets so great that it was thought best for 
us to remain where we were. So there we sat upon the Hoor in the 
closet, 'looking upward in the strife.' Susan and Mart iia got us a 
furnace of live coals, and even cooked us a little food at the fireplace 
in one of the rooms; they got us all the counterpanes and blankets 

they could hastily snatch, and made poor J a bed, as he has 

never recovered from his late attack. 

"Just at dark we heard your uncle's voice again calling, 'Come 
out. I have an ambulance at the back door, and you must not stay 
to get a single thing. They are In town, only a scpiare off, and you 
must be gone at once!' We needed no second call, but wra[)ping 
the blankets around us, we rushed through the yard over the 


brandies of trees. The pailings were all down and tiie yard was 
ploughed up, and we step[)ed over many a ball and fragment of shell 

in onr husty progress to the ambulance. Erotiier J i)ut us all 

in and remained a few moments to lock up the house, when our 
driver put the whip to his horses, and we tore tiirough the town at a 
rate that at any other time would have frightened me for the safety 
of our lives, but now seemed all too slow for our anxiety to be 
beyond the reach of thoie fearful shot and shell which were still 
crashing through the streets and tearing the houses to pieces. I 
never ventured to look back until we readied the top of the high 
hill beyond the mill, and then the scene was so awfully gi'and and 
terrible that I cannot venture upon its description. The railroad 
bridge across Hazel Run was burning, and large fires at several 
points in the town. There were hundreds of camp-fires, around 
which bands of men under arms were gathered, and the road was 
lined with soldiers, wagons, and ambulances. Every object could be 
distinguished, even the fierce swarthy, countenances of our soldiers, 
every one of whom looked defiance towards the foe who had caused 
the destruction of our homes. 

"We came on at rather a lessened pace, and when Mrs. Temple 
met us in the yard with lier warm, cordial welcome, and led us into 
the bright, cheerful looking room, where a good lire was lilazing, and 
kind, sympathizing friends were all around, my wrought-up agony 
gave way in fioods of tears which could not be controlled. We 
thanked God for our deliverance; and when we lay down in com- 
fortable beds, far away from the sound, the sight and the smell of 
battle (for the atmosphere which we had breathed all day was so 
impregnated with gunpowder that it was oppressive), we felt indeed 
that after all we were dealt with by a kind Father." 

General Barksdale's troops resisted the passage of the 
enemy with stubboi'n courage. Nine times they attempted 
to complete their pontoons opposite to the town, and as 
often were driven back by the fatal fire from the rifle pits 
and houses on the bank. But at the bridge near Deep 
Run th(> Confederates wen; exposed to a sweeping fire of 
artillery, and at one o'clock they were compelled to with-, 
draw. This enabled the enemy to cross below and advance 
on the town. Under orders General Barksdale's men 
slowly retired, figliting all the way through the streets and 
inflicting loss on the foe. 

On gaining possession of Fredericksburg, the P^'ederal 
troops abandoned themselves to ])illage and destruction. 
They entered the stores and dwellings, rifled them of all 
that could be removed, and wantonly shattered to pieces 
furniture, mirrors and glassware, lijiped open beds and 


beat out their contents into the yards and streets. All the 
liquor and wine found was speedily seized. Four hundred 
bottles of old wine were taken from the store of William 
Allen by Meagher's Irish brigade. Its effects were seen in 
the battle now hastening on. 

On Friday, the 12th, the Federal array was drawn up 
in battle-line, preparing to advance. Not less than sixty 
thousand men were on the south bank of the river, em- 
bracing the four corps of Sumner, Crouch, Franklin and 
Wilcox, with more than a hundred pieces of artillery. 
The Confederate army sternly confronted them in a line 
extending nearly six miles. Longstreet occupied the 
wooded ridge running from the river above to a point a 
mile below the town. A. P. Hill's troops were on his 
right, and Jackson held the lower line from above Hamil- 
ton's crossing to the Massaponax river. The Southern 
batteries occupied fine positions to sweep the semi-circular 
plateau across which the enemy must advance. Stuart's 
horse artillery were in the plain on the extreme right, and 
the Fredericksburg Battery under Braxton, and Letcher 
Artillery under Greenlee Davidson, were in Bernard's 
field, very near the centi-e of the Federal line. At one 
o'clock the heavy batteries on each side opened, and for 
an hour kept up a brilliant duel of shells and round shot. 
Then all was silent again. 

On the morning ot' Saturday, the 13th of December, a 
dense fog hung over the river and the adjoining fields. 
Under its cover the Federals advanced, their heaviest 
attack was against the position held by A. P. Hill. 
Through the thick vapor their dark masses were dimly 
seen, and immediately the batteries of Braxton and David- 
son opened on them with severe effect. At the same time 
Major Pelham on the right began an enfilading fire, which 
ploughed through their ranks, sweeping down numbers at 
every discharge. His fire was so eftective that six of the 
enemy's batteries concentrated on him; yet under this 
sharp ordeal he maintained his position, and continued his 
rounds witli such daring as to excite the admiration of the 
Southern commander. 

The divisions of the Federal Generals Meade, Gibbons 


and Doubleda}' of Franklin's corps, made strenuous efforts 
to penetrate General Hill's lines. As their left advanced 
towards the ridge occupied by Colonel Lindsay Walker's 
artillery, he waited until they were within eight hundred 
yards. Then the guns under Pegram, EUett and Mcintosh 
launched on them a storm of missiles, which first stopped 
their advance and then drove them back in rout and con- 
fusion. Meanwhile, farther up the line the attack was 
more successful; the brigades of Generals Archer and Lane 
became engaged with a heavy force of the enemy. A 
bloody struggle ensued. Barber's Thirty-seventh and 
Avery's Thirty-third North Carolina kept up a destructive 
fire. The Confederates repulsed all in their front, but the 
numbers of the enemy enabled them to press in upon their 
flanks; and finding that they were in danger of being sur- 
rounded, two regiments of Archer and Lane's men gave 
way and fell back, leaving about two hundred and forty 
prisoners in the hands of the enemy. 

General Archer, with two regiments and two battalions 
from Tennessee, Alabama and Virgijiia, held his ground 
with tenacity, while reinforcements from right and left 
were hurrying to him. Two of Hood's regiments, under 
General Law, Godwin's Fifty-seventh and McDowell's 
Fifty-fourth North Carolina, were detatched from the left, 
and made a charge wiiich drove back the Federals in their 
front beyond the Bowling Green road. But a massed 
cohnnn of the enemy poured through the breach in the 
Southern lines, and penetrated to A. P. Hill's second line, 
where they encountered General Maxcy Gregg's brigade. 
Orr's Rifles mistaking the advancing P^ederals for friends, 
were thrown into momentary confusion. In his eflbrts to 
rally them. General Gregg fell mortally wounded on the 
field. A braver soldier and a truer heart was never lost 
to the South. Cohmel Hamilton, who succeeded to the 
command, I'allied his men, and with promptness re-formed 
his lines and poured a killing volley into tlie enemy's flank. 
At the same time General Thomas' brigade came up to 
the assistance of Archer, and Lawton's and Hoke's bri- 
gades from Early's division hastened into the melee, with 
the veils which diflered so much from the huzzas of the 


Federals that the onset of a Southern regiment was always 
known by the sound. After a short and sanguinary con- 
test the Federals under Ferrero, Negley and Sturgis, gave 
way, and were driven across the railroad with heavy loss. 
Latimer's battery and the brigade under Colonel Brocken- 
brough completed the rout. Doubleday's advance with 
the extreme left of the Federals was successfully met by 
Jackson's infantry under D. H. Hill, aided by the batteries 
of Brockenbrough, Raine, Poage and Dance. The Penn- 
sylvania Reserves under General Jackson weie received 
with a fire so fotal that they broke in confusion and could 
not be rallied. Jackson fell dead on the field, and his 
body, with that of his adjutant, Sweringer, fell into the 
hands of the Confederates. General Gibbons was wounded. 
The attack on the Southern right had failed. After eight 
hours of fierce contest they had driven back the enemy at 
every point, leaving the intervening ground covered with 
his slain. 

Meanwhile on the left a bloody scene had been enacted. 
The Washington Artillery were in position on Marye's 
Hill. General Ransom's division was in support. Brig.- 
General Thomas R. R. Cobb's brigade was posted on the 
road below the hill, behind a stone-wall which attJjrded an 
admirable breastwork. Brig. -General Cooke's men occu- 
pied the crest of the hill. At half- past eleven o'clock the 
serried ranks of the divisiQus of Generals Hancock, Couch 
and Wilcox poured out from Fredericksburg, and advanced 
over the narrow fields. When they came within eftective 
range, Walton's guns opened on them, tearing their ranks 
with spherical case and canister. Still they came steadily 
on, while the heavy batteries from the opposite hills and a 
cloud of sharpshooters on their flanks sought to create a 
diversion in their favor. But when they reached a dis- 
tance of a hundred yards from the road, the infantiy under 
Cobb and Cooke opened their fire and sent a rain of bullets 
upon their already bleeding ranks. Their dead fell like 
withered leaves. Unable to bear the storm, they recoiled 
and fled. Again they were rallied and came on, seeking 
shelter of ravines and fences; again they met the hail of 
lead and retreated in rout, leaving hundreds of dead and 


wounded. Five times their (idvance was renewed, and as 
often repelled with fearful loss. 

As the evening approached the Federal officers organized 
a column of assault heavier than any they had yet em- 
ployed. The troops under Couch, Wilcox and Burnside 
Avere massed for a final and desperate effort. Meagher's 
Irish brigade led the van ; their native courage had been 
stimulated to the highest degree by the liquor and wine 
they had seized in Fredericksburg. Seeing the formidable 
movement, General Ransom ordered Cooke's brigade to 
support Cobb's on the road. Kershaw ordered up his 
division, and Kemper hastened into line with his troops, 
At four o'clock the enormous columns of the enemy were 
hurled upon the position, firing such torrents of bullets 
that a dark belt stained with lead ran along the whole 
line of the stone-wall. The Confederates suffered severe 
loss. General Cobb, a most gallant and accomplished 
officer, was killed by a fragment of shell. General Cooke 
was dangerously wounded. Yet the men stood firm, and 
when the foe came within short musket-range, they met 
them with a ceaseless fire of minie-balls, while the artillery 
above under Colonel Alexander was shattering their ranks 
with grape and canister. In the words of a Northern 
winter, "human nature was unable to hold out against the 
terrible fire." The Irish Brigade melted away; the ground 
was so covered with the dead that the men behind were 
compelled to pass over or push them aside. The Federals 
broke and retreated in horror from the field of blood. 
Their sharpshooters kept up a scattering fire, but as the 
shades of evening gathered over the field, the remnants of 
the host that had moved out in the morning re- 
treated into town or behind the banks of the river. The 
Southern victory was complete. 

The loss of the Confederates in this battle was four 
thousand two hundred men, of whom only four hundred 
and fifty-eight were killed. A. P. Hill's division, which 
sustained the heaviest pressure, lost two hundred and eleven 
killed, and fourteen hundred and eighty wounded. Besides 
Generals Gregg and Cobb, the Southern army lost other 
valuable officers, anions whom were Captain H. D. King 
and Lieutenant James Ellett. 


The repulse of the enemy had been complete, and 
accomplished with so little comparative loss, that the Con- 
federate generals expected the battle to be renewed on 
Monday. But the result proved that they did not know 
the extent of the bloody chastisement they had inflicted. 
The Federal loss in killed, wounded and prisoners was not 
less than fifteen thousand men. They lost nine thousand 
small arms. Their spirits were broken by the fearful 
slaughter they had sustained. Their dead lay in ghastly 
heaps on the field; nearly every house in the town was 
filled with their wounded. 

During the whole battle General Burnside never crossed 
to the south side of the Rappahannock. He remained in 
the house of A. K. Phillips, on a high hill north of the 
river. A Northern observer said: "His position most of 
the time was on the upper balcony, where ivith a powerful 
glass he was watching the movements." After the san- 
guinary defeat of his army he crossed and attempted to 
organize another attack in columns of regiments; but his 
troops demurred, his division generals advised against it. 
In truth, the men could not have been brought to the 
attempt, and he quickly abandoned it. 

On the night of Monday, December 15th, in the midst 
of a storm of wind and rain, he withdrew his beaten army 
w'ith all possible silence and celerity across the river and 
then removed the pontoons. The next morning, when the 
Southern officers and their men looked through the haze 
and storm to see what their enemy was doing, he was gone. 

During the bloody battles fought in 1864 between the 
immense Federal forces under General Ulysses Grant and 
the comparatively small, but indomitable Confederate army 
under General Robert E. Lee, and which have made the 
names of Mine Run, the Wilderness and Spotsylvania 
Courthouse forever memorable in history, the many thou- 
sands of wounded of the Federal army were sent in ambu- 
lances and w'agons to Fredericksburg, where a host of 
United States surgeons and assistants attended them. The 
native population then remaining was small, and consisted 
entirely of women, children and elderly men; even the 
colored population had become very much reduced. 


On Sunday, the 8tli of May, while a small congregation 
was attendhig upon religious services in the basement of 
the Southern Methodist church, a boy came hastily in and 
whispered to Mr. -Joseph W. Sener, who announced that a 
body of armed Federal troops were marching down the 
Poplar Spring road. The people quickly dispersed to their 
houses. These troops did not exceed sixty in number, and 
were all slightly wounded; but as they were armed, the 
men of the town deemed it safest to require their surrender 
as prisoners of war, which was promptly made. Soon, 
other wounded stragglers followed, until the number of 
prisoners amounted to about two hundred. They were sent 
to Richmond under a small escort 

Within the next twenty-four hours, the fifteen thousand 
of the wounded of General Grant's army were brought into 
the town in ambulances, wagons and all available convey- 
ances. They were attended by a large body of surgeons 
and assistants of every kind. Private houses and yards 
were occuiiied, and ghastly sights everywhere met the eye. 
The sudden increase of the population from three or four 
thousand to twenty thousand was enough in itself to cause 
suffering and distress, and these were greatly aggravated 
by the scanty supply of water. This was caused by the 
fact that the Federal wounded in passing by the reservoir 
on Poplar Spring Hill drank it almost dry, and threw into 
it the dead body of a colored soldier. This so tainted the 
water that the town authorities were compelled to shut off 
the supply to the street pipes. Some arrests were made to 
furnish hostages for the wounded prisoners previously 

Many thousands of the wounded in Fredericksburg died, 
and the National Cemetery on Willis' Hill, above the 
town, now holds their remains, together witli those of the 
great numbers gathered from previous battlefields. The 
whole number of separate soldiers whose remains, in whole 
or in part, are there buried is estimated to amount to not 
not less than forty thousand. 

Daring this occuf)ation for the wounded, the people of 
Fredericksburg endured suffering, disease and sorrow 
greater than any that had previously visited them. Yet it 


is an admitted truth that no considerate aid or courtesy 
was wanting on the part of the Federal officers which could 
mitigate the horrors of these scenes. In fact a sentiment 
of humanity was there developed on both sides which pro- 
jected itself into the future. Had the so/diers and the 
good people of both sections been left to themselves after 
the war, without the stimulants furnished by the selfish 
rancor of politicians and place-hunters, complete good 
feeling would long ago have been re-established. 

With the period that has elapsed since the war and 
during the dismal stage of reconstiaiction, you are all 
familiar, and to tell you of it would be only to repeat a 
thrice told tale and unnecessarily "■ infandam renovare 
dolorem,'' to open again old wounds, and perhaps to cause 
hearts to bleed or eyes to weep that Time has been merci- 
fully dealing with. 

And, now, we have reviewed the history of Fredericks- 
burg, as history is often written, but not as it ought to be 
written. For we are now to turn to a more interesting 
phase of the subject, and to speak and learn of the people 
themselves, their ways and manners, their habits, and the 
individualisms which stood out from among them like 
bciKSO relievos from a plain surface. A town does not con- 
sist in the buildings and houses that stand on its soil; and 
the history of the town therefore is not the history of its 
houses, however venerable some of them may be. This is 
a truth which has been already settled by the highest 
American authority, that is Yankee Doodle himself, for 
do we not know that — 

" Yankee Doridle came to town 
Dressed in leather trou-ers; 
He said he could not see the town, 
There were so many houses!" 

There is a profound truth involved in this old song, for 
if a stranger had come to Fredericksburg in the olden 
time, and had seen only the houses, and never met with, 
and conversed with, and become acquainted with her peo- 
ple, and then gone away, it might truly be said of him 
that he had never seen the town. And this same truth is 


expressed in yet more lofty and sublime thought by the 
great Euglish lawyer, Hir William Jones, who with all his 
mastery of twenty-eight languages, and his power as a 
scholar, a jurist and a legislator, never uttered nobler 
truth than in those immortal words: 

" What constitutes a State? 

Not liigh raised battlement or labored inound, 
Thick wall or moated gate; 

Not cities proud with spires and turrets crowned ; 
Not bays and broad-armed ports 

Where, laughing at the storm, i-ich navies ride; 
Not starred and spangled courts. 

Where low browed baseness wafts perfume to pride. 
No! Men, high-minded men, 

With powers as far above dumb brutes endued 
In forest brake or den. 

As beasts excel cold rocks and brambles rude ; 
Men who their duties know, 

And know their rights, and, knowing, dare maintain, 
Prevent the long aimed blow, 

And crush the tyrant wiiile they rend the chain : 
These constitute a State." 

And so we say that the men and the women of the past 
of Fredericksburg are her true history, wdiether for glory 
or for shame. 

This town was once nominally called by a witty states- 
man a "finished town," and her people have often been 
accused of being so entirely self-satisfied that they will not 
believe that any merit elsewhere can exceed her merit. 
But, irony aside, it is a fact generally admitted — and 
admitted by none more readily than by people at a dis- 
tance — that the men and women whom Fredericksburg 
has, from time to time, sent out from her bosom into all 
parts of our country and of the world, and the men and . 
women whom she has retained or adopted, have contributed 
to establish for her a marked and consistent reputation for 
intellectual activity and genial qualities. It is not impos- 
sible that a philosophical reason or series of reasons for 
this fact maybe found, in the conditions that have sur- 
rounded Fredericksburg; her moderate and pleasant cli- 
mate, her excellent water, her environment of picturesque 
hills and flowing river; the beauty and fascinating qualties 


of her women; her cheapness in the necessaries of life; 
and, above all, in that happy medium between the size of 
a small and stagnant village, and a large and bustling 
city, which she has for nearly a century maintained, and 
which is eminently adapted to develop active individualism 
of character, alike removed from the sluggish life of a 
village, and the forced dead-level of a huge city. 

But whatever may have been the causes, the fact is 
certain. Fredericksburg has, from revolutionary times 
downward, always had within her, or about her, mental 
activity. She has never been blessed or cursed with Rip 
Van Winkleism. It is true that her people, in order to 
develop pabulum for thought, have been occasionally 
obliged, for want of more profitable occupation, to resort to 
seats on dry goods boxes on the business avenues, or to 
convenient corners for the debates of social juntos; or, on 
graver occasions, to the town hall or courthouse for public 
discussion; but they have always kept their minds alert 
and polished by friction, and ready for business when busi- 
ness should call; and if they have sometimes expended 
their immense reserve and superfluity of thought in con- 
triving practical jokes and questionable am<isements, yet 
very seldom have these excesses ever assumed forms of 
deliberate and malignant mischief. 


With this brief introduction, I propose to speak of some of 
the marked characters that have appeared either in Fred- 
ericksburg or in the country in contact with her, and con- 
nected with her destinies. One of the earliest of those of 
Avhom we have any authentic account was Francis Thorn- 
ton, the great-great-grandfather of our beloved female 
citizens, Mrs. Fitzgerald and Mrs. Forbes. And when I 
state that Mrs. Fitzgerald, having nearly attained her 
eighty-eighth year, is probably now our oldest inhabitant, 
I carry you back to a very respectable antiquity in bring- 
ing to your notice her great-great-grandfather. 

He was from Yorkshire, in England; came to Virginia 
after he attained to manhood, and acquired title to a very 


large tract of land in tliis region. He was a tall and 
powerfully built man, active and athletic. His residence 
was long in the neighborhood of the Falls Plantation; bi;t 
I suppose his actual dwelling house is not now in existence. 
He was fond of out-door occuj^atioiis and sports — hunting, 
fishing and swimming. There is a tradition that he had 
occasional encountei's with the Rnppahannock Indians, and 
that in one of them, in which he had the aid of a few 
hardy spirits like himself, nothing but his great courage 
and strength saved the white party from destruction. But 
these incidents are not sutHciently authenticated to justify 
me in giving them as history. It is certain, however, that 
he sought adventure amon<r the lower animals — fish, flesh 
and fowl — with which this region then abounded; and 
within the memory of the living, an old citizen of Fal- 
mouth has seriously declared that he had found in or 
around the falls terrapins and fresh water turtles, which 
had on their shells the initials " F. T." distinctly cut with 
the ])oint of a knife. And on one occasion he had an 
encounter Avith a sturgeon which is worthy of note because 
it was characteristic of the man: The sturgeon had made 
his way up the river during a light freshet, above ordinary 
deep water. Francis Thoi-nton, Hnding this large fisii in 
some of the shallow waters of the falls, undertook to secure 
him, and for this })lunged into the water and seized 
his head; but his hands becoming entangled in the gills 
the fish struggled so violently that he made his way with 
his captor into the dee[)er water. Any ordinary man 
would have gladly released him, but this Yorkshire gen- 
tleman resolved otherwise, and by a rcmaikable exertion 
of his great strength and skill in wading and swimming, 
actually succeeded in Ibrcing the sturgeon back to the 
shallow water and secured him. It was by such men that 
the wilderness was subdued, and Virginia secured for the 
Anglo-Saxon race. 

The great-grandson of this gentleman was Francis 
Thornton, whom many now living remember as the owner 
and occupier of the Fall Hill estate above Fredericksburg. 
And though the Indian fights, just mentioned, may be 
apocryphal, yet it is certain that the life of an Indian was 


closely connected with his life. During the administration 
of Alexander Spotswood as Governor of Virginia, a young 
Indian girl became domesticated in his family. Whether 
she was actually a captive in some of the irregular wars 
with the savages, or whether she was one of the numerous 
hostages whom Governor Spotswood required the Indian 
sachems to deliver up as security for their peaceable de- 
meanor is not certainly known. Her name was Katina, 
and after some time spent in the Spotswood family she was, 
with her own consent, transferred to the Thorntons, and 
became the nurse of Francis Thornton, the younger. She 
formed for her young charge the strongest attachment. 
She carried him with her into the woods and fields and 
taugiit him many of the Indians' devices which she had 
not forgotten. On one occasion when they had been missed 
for some time, the father of the child sought them in the 
thick undergrowth on a part of the farm now known as 
Snowden, above Fredericksburg, the present residence of 
John L. Stansbury. Here Katina was found seated on 
the ground with the little boy near her, in a state of high 
delight at her success in trapping a number of live part- 
ridges which she had enticed into a wicker basket or cage, 
and was now exhibiting to her happy young charge. Wlien 
Francis Thornton was about seventeen years old, this In- 
dian woman died, and her death caused him so much of 
grief and depression that he could never hear it mentioned 
or speak of it in subsequent life without the most unatiected 

The art of practical pleasantry is one in which a very 
great number of proficients have appeared in this town 
whose deeds have been confined to no special epoch of her 
career. They have often exhibited strange mental ti-aits, 
and the point of the joke has often been attained by elabo- 
rate thought and preparation which, applied to any other 
subject, would have gone far towards useful and beneficial 

Early in this century there lived in Fredericksburg an 
old Frenchman named Campion. He lived in the upper 
part of the town. He was very poor, and such work as 
he could find was precarious and often unremunerative. 

38 fkedericksburg: past, present and future. 

He was often in want, and thongh not a recognized pauper, 
was assisted, with much good humor and kind-heartedness, 
by the ])eople in his neighborhood. And in return for 
their benefactions many of them felt at liberty to amuse 
themselves by innumerable pleasantries in word and deed 
at his expense. On one dark night, at precisely nine 
o'clock, when the old Frenchman was getting somewhat 
sleepy, a knock was heard at his door. He oj)ened it; a 
man stood there who asked in an earnest voice: " Is Mons. 
Tonson here?" He politely re})lied: " Non ; Mons. Ton- 
son does not live here. Mons. Campion lives here. " Then 
the enquirer withdrew. Half an hour afterwards, as the 
old man was preparing to go to bed, another loud knock 
was heard at the door. Half asleep he opened it, and 
again a stranger presented himself with the question: "Is 
Mons. Tonson here ? ' ' The Frenchman began to wax 
angry, and answering loudly, " No! " he shut the door in 
the face of his visitor, and went to bed. But hardly had 
he fallen into the fii-st sweet sleep, before another half-hour 
had passed, and again a tremendous knocking aroused him, 
to which, in his confused state, he answered by again pre- 
senting himself at the door. The same question drew forth 
an exi:>losion of wrath, and again he went to bed. But the 
inveterate jokers were not to be foiled. At the end of 
every half-hour from nine to four in the morning, a fresh 
man, detailed for the purpose, knocked at the door, and 
when Campion refused to rise from his bed, but howled 
therefrom like a goaded tiger, still the same question was 
shouted out: " Is Mons. Tonson here?" and still the an- 
swer came, mingled with .sacre.s threats and objurgations 
which roused the whole neighborhood. The next day 
Campion went to the mayor's ofhce to get out a warrant, 
but on giving his account of the matter, the mayor was 
almost convulsed by his efforts to restrain his laughter and 
to look officially grave; and, moreover, it was found that 
Mons. Campion, though he had his suspicions, could not 
identify one single offender, and could not swear to any 
state of facts which involved an actual violation of law. 
Therefore the matter was dropped, and he was quickly 
paciffed by the practical kindness of the very men who had 
perpetrated this jDractical joke. 


In the interval between the years 1830 and 1845, this 
spirit was all alive in Fredericksburg. There existed then 
a secret club or association known among themselves as 
"The Jaw Bone Club." They had no declared objects; 
no constitution; no by-laws; no rules or regulations of any 
kind — at least none that were ever revealed. I am not 
able to say who were members of this club, or who were 
its officers. I only know that John Terry, Charles A. 
Pearson, Wm. H. Murphy, James Cunningham, James 
Harrison and Turner Ramsay were leading spirits in its 
operations. How many others were united with them, and 
who they were, has not been disclosed. Their object 
seemed to be, by union of effort, under certain impulses of 
fun, which were under thorough discipline, to extract as 
much enjoyment as possible from any suitable subjects for 
practical jokes. On one occasion a Stafford man came 
into Fredericksburg, and meeting casually with James 
Cunningham, entered into conversation. Being asked 
what was new in Stafford, he answered that in his neigh- 
borhood the people were very much troubled about mad 
dogs. "Mad dogs?" said Cunningham; "why don't you 
get the corporation gun ? " " What is that ? " asked the 
Staftbrd man. "Why," said Mr. Cunningham, " it is a 
gun which is infsillible death to eveiy mad dog it conies 
near." The Staftbrd man was greatly excited and asked 
eagerly how it could be obtained. "Nothing easier," said 
Cunningham. "1 had it not hmg ago to kill a mad dog, 
but I have passed it to another gentleman. It is going 
the rounds all the time. I will give you an order for it 
by which you can get it." He accordingly wrote an order, 
directing it to Charles A. Pearson, and requesting him to 
deliver to bearer the corporation gun. On presentation to 
Mr. Pearson he remarked gravely that he had parted with 
it only the day before; but he would endorse on the back 
of the order a written request to the party who had it, 
which would answer every purpose. This new order was 
directed to Mr. John Terry. By this time night had 
arrived. The Stafford citizen could not find Mr. Terry 
until the next morning after breakfast. On reading the 
paper he expressed regret that he had not the gun, but 


comforted the gentleman by telling him he knew where it 
was and could put him in the way to obtain it. He said 
to him: " The gun is now hanging up in the front part of 
the store of Mr. AVilliam Redd, on Commerce street. It 
is public property, and is intended for the use of all who 
wish to kill mad dogs. Mr. Redd is somewhat strange in 
his ways and may not be disposed to deliver it to you. 
You need not ask him for it. You have seen all the 
necessary parties, and I will write on this paper a full 
authority, under which you can go and take down the gun 
and carry it home with you." And so the writing was 
given; the gentleman proceeded to the store, and seeing a 
gun hanging up near the front door, forthwith mounted on 
a keg of nails and had actually cut one of the suspenduig 
cords, when William Redd catching sight of the proceed- 
ing through the glass sash of his counting-room rushed out 
upon him. His hostile look so alarmed the man that he 
left the gun hanging by one cord, and took to his heels, 
pursued by Mr. Redd, who raised hue and cry upon him 
as a thief; but the man was fleet of foot and succeeded in 
crossing Chatham bridge and escaping into Stafford. 
Justice requires me to add that when William Redd, who 
relished a joke, learned about the order he laughed as 
heartily as other people, and sent the Stafford gentleman a 
message that he might come safely to Fredericksburg when 
he chose. 

These details as to the "Jaw Bone Club" and its pro- 
ceedings have been given to me by my friend and former 
schoolmate, Charles A. Shepherd, who has also furnished 
many authentic particulars as to Wm. H. Murphy (com- 
monly called Billy Murphy), who kept a store, and Isaac 
Jones (commonly known as Jew Jones), who was then the 
only citizen of Hebrew descent in Fredericksburg, though 
since the war some of her most enterprising residents have 
been of that ancient and interesting race. 

I can only speak, in passing on, of the peculiar relations 
between Billy Murphy and Jew Jones, and tell how Mur- 
2>hy, by most adroit and elaborate maneuvres, continued 
through five years, succeeded, on two several occasions, in 
inducing Jew Jones to receive from him cigars, in each 


case loaded in their folds with gunpowder, and which, 
when the Jew lighted them while applied to his mouth, 
instantly exploded, marking his face, in one instance, with 
black spots which he long bore; and how in another case, 
in a dark night Murphy crouched down in a deep gutter 
which was then alongside of the curb-stone, near the 
present postoffice, by which route he knew that Jew Jones 
was about to pass; and when the Jew stepped on him he 
rose up, whereby the Jew was overthrown and covered with 
mud, and how Murphy succeeded in moving back into the 
sitting-room of the Farmers Hotel (which was then the 
great place of rendezvous for jokers) in time to take his 
seat, with a grave lace, before the Jew arrived; and how 
Mr. Jones came in and declared that he had stepped on a 
big black hog, applying, also, to the supposed hog an 
epithet which reverence forbids me to repeat, and how he 
had fallen and beniired himself, and how outrageous it 
was in the common council to permit hogs to run in the 
streets, and Murphy sympathized with him, and proposed 
to get up a petition on the subject to the council. But 
with all his repeated and sometimes severe pleasantries at 
his expense. Murphy was always a true friend to the Jew, 
and often helped him when he was in want or in trouble. 
This good-humored habit of exercising the mind in 
ingenious contrivances for merriment and fun had its effect 
even on the colored people of Fredericksburg, many of 
Avhom emerged from the common level and became char- 
acters almost as well known as some of the white humorists. 
I can only mention three by name, all of whom may per- 
haps be remembered by some present. One was John 
Campbell, commonly called "Old John Campbell." His 
specialty was attending funerals. He was never known to 
be absent from the funeral of a colored person; and at- 
tended all the funerals of the white people that he could 
possibly reach. On these occasions, he always wore the 
same hat, adorned with a black band and crape weepers 
behind ; so that whenever he was seen wearing this hat and 
wending his way in any direction, it was equivalent to a 
notice that a funeral procession would come from that 
point. The next colored character to be noted was Jenny 


Ham. She was so eccentric that she was sometimes 
thought to be insane; but there Avas so much of shrewdness 
and method in her madness that the better medical opinion 
was against this theory. She would never permit any 
person to cross her track without taking instant measures 
to resent it or to avert the evil omen; and many a tub or 
bucket of water has descended on the head of the unlucky 
urchin who attempted this perilous feat. She had a 
daughter, who bore a name of her own dictation, and 
which she would repeat to any serious questioner with 
intense volubility. It was a fair rival to some of the 
nanies of German |)rincesses. It was as follows: Mary, 
Margaret, Molly, Folly, Todd, Yankee Doodle, Yahoo, 
Rooliper, Trooliper, Woolfolk Ham. 

But, beyond doubt, the most eminent colored character 
was Buddy Taylor, who died only a few years ago. He 
was a man of large size and stature, and, in his prime, of 
gigantic strength. His complexion was black, but having 
an acjuiline nose, he always denied that he was an Ethiopian, 
and insisted that he Avas a Carthagenian, and thus claimed 
connection with the blood of Hannibal and Hanno. His 
peculiarities were many; but that which most distinguished 
him was the ability to coin and use words of sesquipedalian 
length and thundering soud, of which the word " mahani- 
ostanating " must serve as a single specimen. His language 
was marvelous in this, that though every sentence con- 
tained a large proportion of words which iDelonged neither 
to the English language nor to any other known language, 
ancient or modern, yet, when the sentence was finished, it 
seldom failed to impress on the hearer's mind a distinct, 
incisive stanqi of the idea which Buddy Taylor wished to 
express. Therefore he was seldom misunderstood; and I 
have always thought that the phenomena exhibited by his 
mind and language Avere worthy of the deepest study of 
the professed psychologist. On one occasion, about the 
year 1832, there was an exhibition in the town hall of 
Fredericksburg of the nitrous-oxyd or exhilarating gas, 
the properties of which were first discovered by Sir Hum- 
phrey Davy. The effect of this gas is known to be to 
develop into high activity the prevalent and prominent 


traits of real character in the person who breathes it. 
And the fact that by far the larger number fight furiously 
with fists, feet and teeth, is considered a sad proof that 
since the fall, man has been born a fighting animal. 
When Buddy Taylor was brought in for the purpose and 
breathed this gas, much interest was felt, and the crowd 
gathered in a silent circle around him. And, true to his 
pi-evalent habit, the moment the tube was removed from 
his lips, he stepped forth into the circle and delivered a 
speech which, I can truly say, was unparalleled and inimit- 
able, for nothing bearing the slightest resemblance to it is 
found in all the literature of the world. 

I am not willing to leave this subject of individual 
character without at least a ])assing notice of certain choice 
spirits, who were accustomed to resort to Fredericksburg 
from the county of King George; and as I have already 
mentioned the Farniers Hotel, it is jjroper now to speak of 
the old Indian Queen Tavern, or hotel, which stood on 
Main street, nearly on the spot where Mr. Stonebraker has 
a wareroom for agricultural machinery. This Indian 
Queen Hotel was burned to the ground at mid-day, about 
the year 1831. It had been tlie place where the choice 
spirits aforesaid mostly did congregate. In King George 
there is a region, formerly, and perhaps now, known as 
Chotank, which has been mentioned in connection with its 
favorite beverage by St. Leger Lundon Carter in his genial 
essay, "The Mechanician and Uncle Simon." From this 
region chiefly came the spirits of whom I am to speak. 
Mr. Carter was, beyond question, a poet. His longest 
poem, "The Land of Powhatan," though it has some 
beauties, was as a whole, a failure, and is not now in print. 
But had he never written anything save the two short 
poems, "The Sleet" and "The Mocking Bird," his pos- 
session of the divine afflatus would be beyond serious 
doubt. The first of these poems has lately been republished 
by the good taste of our lady editor of the Fredericksburg 
News; but as the latter is not generally accessible, and is 
connected with my present theme, and as it is not only 
true to the poetic soul, but true to the observed habits of the 
bird, I am sure you will forgive me for quoting a part of it: 


" I saw him to-day, on his favorite tree 
AVhere lie constantly comes in his glory and glee, 
Perclied iiigh on a litnb, which whs standing out far 
Abiive all the rest, like a tall taper spar: 
Tiie wind was then wafting tiint limb to and fro, 
And he rode np and down, like a ekitf in a blow. 
When it sinks witii the billow, and moinits with its swell; 
He knew I was watching — he knew it fnll well. 

"He folded his pinions, and swelled out his throat, 
And mimicked each bird in his own native note — 
Tiie thrush and the robin, the red bird and all — 
And the partridge would whittle and answer his call; 
Then slopjnng his carol, he seemed to prepare. 
By the Hirt of his wings, for a Hight in the air, 
Wlien rising sheer upward, he wheeled down again 
And took up his song where he left oft' the strain. 

" What a gift he possesses of throat and of lungs. 
The gift apostolic — the gift <>f all tongues! 
Ah! could he but utter the lessons of love 
To wean us from earth and to waft ns above, 
What siren could tempt us to wander again? 
We'd seek but the siren outpouring that strain — 
Would listen to nought but his soft dying fall. 
As he sat all alone on some old ruined wall." 

Such was the mocking bird of King George, which in- 
spired the poet's heart. But we have some accounts which 
attribute to this delightful bird sounds of another kind. 
For the facts now to be mentioned I am indebted to my 
good friend, Mr. John Randolph Bryan, who has recently 
become resident with us, and is a member of our library 
committee. He obtained his narrative from the hate 
Doctor David Tucker, who made his ob.servations on the 
spot in Chotank, in King George. On rising in the morn- 
ing he was greeted by the joyous voices of the mocking 
birds. To his astonishment he discovered that they uttered 
articulate sounds almost perfect imitations of the sounds 
from human organs. On listening more attentively he 
heard the words, " Get up, get up," repeated with anima- 
tion. But soon other words from these bird-throats came 
with even more distinctness and life. They were, "Julep, 
julep, julep." And then came many voices uniting in a 
mezzo-soj)rano, "Taste it, taste it, taste it," and finally 
came a deep-toned contralto chorus, " So good, so good. 


80 good," and thus was ushered in with music, after the 
manner of the ancient Greeks, the morning libation in 

But whatever sceptical doubts may arise as to this mock- 
ing bird chorus, the facts now to be mentioned are well 
authenticated. I had them first from my faithful friend, 
the late Howson H. Wallace, who was often in King 
George and had many relations there. On one occasion a 
special carouse was proposed to be observed at the Indian 
Queen, and a select baud, embracing the names of Talia- 
ferro, and Lewis, and Turner, and Hooe, and many others, 
assembled. To do full honor to this august occasion, a 
wash-tub of considerable dimensions was obtained from the 
laundry of the hotel. This was filled nearly to the brim 
with the choicest liquors and materials, compounded with 
an artistic skill that had no rival elsewhere, even in Vir- 
ginia. Loud was the tumultous joy — long and deep were 
the potations. As they went on, some of the stronger 
heads thought they perceived, from time to time, a distinct 
savor of leather in the liquid; but they learnedly accounted 
for it by reminding each other that several bottles of sherry 
had gone into the tub. You know that this favorite wine, 
when genuine, is from Xeres, in the province of Andalusia 
in Spain, and that being brought down from the sunny 
vintage in bags made from the skins of animals it acquires 
a j)eculiar flavor, which the initiated claim to be a special 
virtue. But when they reached nearly to the bottom of 
the tub, some ingredients were found which had not been 
put in by the artistic compounders. Being pulled out they 
were found to be a pair of leather boots — old, well worn, 
with originally high heels, thick soles and double tops. 
Afterwards one of the youngest of the party confessed that 
he had slyly thrown them in before the carouse opened. 
But as he" had taken his full share of the beverage i'rom 
the beginning, and had got very drunk and fallen under 
the table, for these good deeds he was forgiven, and his 
name has not transpired. 

And now it is time that we turn from these delineations 
of character and manners in our town to graver themes. 


Among the many influences Avliich have continued to 
dev^elop the individualisms of the people of Fredericksburg, 
three seem to demand special notice. These are: First, 
the schools; second, the ne\vspa])ers; third, the churches. 
Each of these sources of influence would require a separate 
lecture for its exposition. We can therefore only glance at 
them, but we may glance intelligently. 


The material that has reached me would enable me to 
treat quite fully of the schools iu and about Fredericksl)urg 
from the year 1800 to the present time. But I propose 
only to speak specially of three. One of these was that which 
succeeded the female school taught by the late Rev. Samuel 
B. AVilson, in which many of the most agreeable women in 
Fredericksburg received their early education. One of his 
pupils, and afterwards his assistant, was Miss Mary Ralls. 
She was the nearest approach to one who exercised disin- 
terested benevolence that has appeared iu our midst. She 
continued the female school, and after awhile took in 
charge boys also. She called to her assistance a number 
of teachers iu succession, and, at last, called to her assist- 
ance a husband — an act constituting probably her most 
signal display of unselfish benevolence. He was Mons. 
Jean Baptiste Herard, a French gentleman, whose revo- 
lutionary principles and service with Napoleon the First 
made it necessary for him to leave France wdien the Bour- 
bons were restored to the throne. He was never able to 
speak English. He was poor and friendless. Miss Mary 
Ralls had compassion on him and married him. They 
were united in marriage in the old Presbyterian church, 
which then stood on the lot now known as the Fredericks- 
burg Female Orphan Asylum. Rev. Mr. Wilson performed 
the marriage ceremony, and a young lawyer, skilled in the 
French language, translated its parts to Mons. Herard and 
received his assent. It was then the usage of Doctor Wil- 
son to close the ceremony with the words, "Salute your 
bride," addressed to the groom, who was expected to obey 
by decorously raising the veil of the bride and kissing her 


lips. It seems probable that this part of the ceremony had 
not been sufficiently explained to Mons. Herard, and that 
his ideas on the subject had become confused by some 
usages in the provinces of France with which he was 
familiar. Be this as it may, it is certain that as soon as 
the words had been uttered in English by the clergyman, 
and rendered into French by the interpreter, Mons. Herard 
seized the bride under her arms, and, to the unspeakable 
consternation of herself and her female friends, danced her 
tunniltuously up and down the whole length of the front 
aisle of the church — her little feet twinkling and flashing 
with the rapidity of the movement, and her face presenting 
a lively image of mingled womanly triumph and despair. 
Reverence for the sacred building forbade merriment in- 
side; but some persons casually passing by were amazed to 
see the doors thrown open and a number of gentlemen rush 
out and roll themselves over and over on the grass of the 
churchyard in convulsions of laughter. Among them was 
the late Dr. Beverly R. Wellford, who afterwards often 
narrated the scene. 

This marriage union, thus cheerfully inaugurated, was 
on the whole a happy one. Mons. Herard, though he 
could not speak English, taught writing and French in the 
school. Here commenced the education of a large num- 
ber of girls and boys, who were afterwards well known in 
the social circles and business pursuits of Fredericksburg, 
and of many other parts of the United States. Among 
the boys I may be permitted to mention as my schoolfellows, 
George Scott, William Barton, now your circuit judge, his 
brother Howard, now a physician, and who attended Gen- 
eral Robert E. Lee in his last illness, John Beverly Stan- 
ard, Robert Wellford, who married Fannie Littlepage 
Stevenson, became a physician and died comparatively 
young; another Robert Wellford, from Tallahasse, Florida; 
Peter Gray, a son of William F. (jray, and brother of 
Mrs. Doswell, of Fredericksburg, and who became a cir- 
cuit judge in Texas, and was a member of the Confederate 
House of Representatives during the war; Robert and 
John L. Marye, who need no introduction to you; Edward 
Carter, a relative of the Wellford family, a boy of great 


courage and promise, but who perished in his early youth, 
by shipwreck, in going round by sea from Norfolk to New 
York; and Byrd Stevenson, the youngest son of Carter L. 
Stevenson, who was long Commonwealth's attorney in our 

In the school of Madame Herard, the studies of history, 
geography, grammar, rhetoric and the French language 
were, I think, carefully and successfully taught. But 
arithmetic was not well taught until her brother, Mr. 
Nathaniel Ralls, became an assistant in the school. He 
was a fine arithmetician, and a vast improvement immedi- 
ately took place. Prior to his coming, it is my impression 
that arithmetic could not have been recognized, in this 
school, as a branch of the exact sciences. This impression 
is founded not only on general recollections, but one special 
incident, which must be related as a sign of those times. 
The most advanced class in arithmetic was at work one 
whole morning on a sum in what was then called "The 
Single Rule of Three," the answer to which was in land 
measure. After many vain efforts the boys gloomily as- 
sured the assistant teacher that they could not get the 
answer. This teacher's efforts were then applied, but were 
equally in vain. Finally a question came to the class from 
the teacher's lips in these exact words: " How much do it 
lack of the answer?" Immediately a voice replied, "It 
wants one acre, two rods and twenty-seven perches of the 
answer." " That's near enough," said the teacher; and, 
the knot being thus happily cut, the boys went on their 
way rejoicing. 

It has been supposed by some that Mons. Herard was 
actually one of the regicide deputies who voted for the 
execution of Louis Sixeeenth; but the careful volumes of 
Thiers furnish no evidence that his name was in that list — 
that fearful list — to some execrable — to others immortal — 
to all profoundly impressive. But, that his whole heart 
and soul were fired with the revolutionary spirit was clear 
to all who knew him. On one occasion two accomplished 
ladies, who had visited France and spoke the language, 
spent an evening at his residence, which was then the small 
wooden building opposite to the house of Mr. Edgar 


Crutchfield, our superintendent of schools. As the even- 
ing passed on, one of these ladies, who was a fine vocalist, 
by request, commenced singing the grand hymn of the 
' ' Marseillaise. ' ' Hardly had she commenced before Mons. 
Herard sprang from his seat in uncontrollable emotion, and 
when she reached the line, ' 'Marchons, Marclwns, et Serrez 
■vos battaillons / " he leaped into the air, waved his hand 
around his head and, taking up the strain, sang verse after 
verse with gesticulations almost frantic in their energy. 
And even in his retired life, he proved that he had not 
forgotten some of the sharpest remedies of his country's 
revolutionary times. He was fond of gardening, and of 
raising pigeons. A cat in the neighborhood had made 
some bloody incursions upon his squabs. He watched his 
movements, saw that' he came in through a hole in the 
close fence round his garden, set a bag arouud the hole, 
caught the cat, and conducted him in triumph to a scaffold 
erected for tlie purpose. Here the glittering axe descended, 
and the cat's head rolled in the dust, followed by a torrent 
of blood. Of these tragic events we were apprised in the 
school by a shriek from one of the female teachers. Miss 
Antonia Brent, who was looking out of the window and 
saw the act of decapitation. But though the female teachers 
and some of the female scholars were shocked, the boys 
were delighted with the whole proceeding. And they were 
probably right; for this cat was a malignant and confirmed 
avicide and deserved liis fate. 

When the revolution of 1830 took place, which drove 
Charles the Tenth from the throne of France, the people 
of Fredericksburg fired one hundred guns. Mons. Herard 
walked up and down Main street from breakfast time until 
nearly sunset, with a tri-colored ribbon on his coatbreast, 
and a look of rapt revolutionary fervor on his countenance. 
He was deeply disappointed at the continuation of the 
monarchy under Louis Phillipe of Orleans. He died a 
few years afterwards. How would that old heart, now cold 
in death, have bounded with joy could he have lived to 
see the present republican government of that great and 
chivalrous people! 

The next school to be noted was that of Mr. John Gool- 


rick, iu the building now occupied l)y the Misses Vass. 
His residence was the wooden building next above. He 
was an Irishman by birth, and was related to the family of 
which Judge John T. Goolrick, present judge of the cor- 
poration court of Fredericksburg, is a descendant. He 
was assisted in his school by his son George, who was de- 
crepit in body, but highly cultured in mind. Mr. John 
Goolrick was long the surveyor of Fredericksburg, and was 
assuredly one of its eminent characters. He was deeply 
skilled in mathematics, and was always pleased when his 
scholars made such previous progress as would justify their 
transfer to the classes in geometry. He believed in Euclid, 
and did not believe in the modern follies which attempt to 
teach that an angle may be formed by one straight line, 
and that possibly somewhere in thfe universe of thought, 
two added to two may make five. This last heresy is the 
idea of John Stuart Mill, and is akin to the ideas of the 
skeptical and materialistic school of the present day, who 
call their system agriodicmii. This system teaches that 
man in his present state knows nothing and cannot possibly 
know anything of God or of ultimate Truth; and hence it 
follows that for aught we know or can know in this world, 
good may be evil, (iod may be Hatan, and heaven may be 
hell. Mr. Goolrick, being a devout and catholic Christian, 
utterly repudiated any such philosophy. He believed in 
geometry, and such was the thoroughness of his methods, 
that several pupils in his school were able to stand up 
before him, and upon his calling by book and number for 
any proposition in Euclid, to repeat the theme and instantly 
give the demonstration. Jt is at least doubtful whether 
this could now l)e done in any college in our land. The 
blackboard in his day was unknown, Init the geometrical 
figures wei-e projected by rule, scale and compasses, and 
were therefore far more symmetrical than any that now 
appear on the blackboard. He not only delighted to teach 
geometry, but trigonometry, both plane and spherical — 
surveying and navigation — algebra even to the diftereutial 
calculus, and conic sections to the hyperbola and the 
asymptotes. His modes of discipline were only two — 
keeping in after school hours, and the rod. He believed 


in the rod, and had two forms thereof; one, the common 
form, consisting of tolerably stout and long twigs cut from 
the althea bushes in his garden; the other a more solemn 
form, kept for high occasions, being a seasoned cane of 
bamboo, with an ivory head, and which by frequent use, 
had become split into two parts, though united at the 
handle and ferule. In this school I first met my friend 
Charles A. Shepherd, and his brother Bandy Shepherd, who 
was the hero of a most ludicrous scene, which want of time 
forbids me to narrate. 

The last school we can note is that of Thomas H. 
Ha,nson. He was originally from Georgetown, and was 
educated for the bar; but his modesty was so great that he 
found it seriously to interfere with his success in the prac- 
tice of law. He was a fine classical scholar, and his school 
always deserved ' ' par excellence ' ' the name of a classical 
school. The Greek and Latin languages, and history, and 
antiquities of Greece and Rome were sedulously taught in 
it, and few who have ever passed studiously through this 
school have failed, in some form, to make their mark upon 
their day and generation. In this school I first met my 
friend, Mr. A. P. Rowe, our delegate in the General 

Mr. Hanson, though modest and unassuming, was per- 
fectly firm in temper, and, when roused, was formidable. 
He was a man of true piety — read prayers in his school, 
and sometimes read or delivered a short moral or religious 
lecture. Some of the boys under his care long remembered 
the impression left by his reading the pathetic narrative of 
the death of young Altamount, by Doctor Edward Young, 
the author of the "Night Thoughts." Mr. Hanson was 
a member of the Episcopal church; but though he loved 
his own church, and was what is sometimes called a good 
churchman, he was never illiberal or exclussve in creed or 
practice; and was ever ready to recognize and Avork with 
his brethren of other communions. 

These schools are but specimen presentations of the 
schools of Fredericksburg, which have always been good. 
I must now leave them to say a few words on the news- 
papers of the town. 



The first paper established was the Virginia Herald and 
Falmouth Advertiser, by Timothy Green, in 1786. It was, 
after some years, conducted by Green, Lacy & Harrow, 
and for a year or two by Wm. F. Gray. Finally all other 
interests were bought out by James I). Harrow, who was 
a practical printer, and who conducted it for a number oi 
years under the style of the Virginia Herald. In 1851, 
after Mr. Harrow's death, it was purchased by Major 
Kelly, who conducted it successfully until a few years ago, 
when, finding his t}'pe much worn, his subscriptions much 
in arrear and hard to collect, and probably his own health, 
circumstances and suiTouudings inclining him to an easier 
life than that of a political editor, he wound up and dis- 
continued this venerable semi-weekly. In 1800 another 
semi-weekly was started under the name of The Courier, 
by James Walker as editor and proprietor. It was issued 
Tuesdays and Fridays, at 20 shillings (^3.34) per annum. 
A file of this paper running from ^November, 1800, to 
November, 1801, in bound form, has survived the lapse of 
time and the desolations of the war, and has been kindly 
submitted to my examination by the owner, Mr. James L. 
Green, of Fredericksburg. It was started to promote tlie 
interests of the Jefferson party, then called the Republican 
party, and its first number states that it is the successor 
and continuation of the paper entitled The Genius of 
Liberty, which had been conducted in Fredericksburg by 
Mr. Robert Mercer. This file of The Courier is interesting 
because of its age and associations; but it is strangely 
deficient in all local information, and but for the adver- 
tisements and an occasional notice of a horse race, a public 
dinner, a ball or a theatrical performance, it might as well 
have been published in Boston as in Fredericksburg. It 
does not even give quotations of the Fredericksburg market 
until near its close. The first quotation is October 27, 
1801, when a brief list is given, quoting tobacco at $4.00; 
flour, superfine, at $7.75 per barrel; fine, $7.25 per barrel; 
wheat, $1.25 per bushel; Indian corn, $4.00 per barrel; 
and meal, $3.34 per barrel. Even the poetry is generally 


second-hand, being for the most part selected from the 
English humorist who wrote under the name of Peter 
Pindar. But, one brief poem, undoubtedly of home manu- 
facture, appears in the number for February 13, 1801, 
and this I shall quote for the benefit of my brethren of the 
bar, that they may comfort their hearts by the reflection 
that these present times are not the only times in which 
they have been heartily abused. It is headed "Epitaph 
on a Lawyer," and runs thus: 

"Here lies the vile dust of the sinfullest wretch 
That ever tlie Devil delayed to fetch ; 
And the reader will grant it was needless he should, 
When he saw he was coming as fast as he could." 

The Fredericksburg News was established by Robert 
Baylor Semple and, after his death, was purchased by 
Archibald Alexander Little, who conducted it to the time 
of his death. It is still in successful progress. The Politi- 
cal Arena was edited from about the year 1830 to 1845 by 
Wm. M. Blackford, who afterwards removed to Lynch- 
burg. The Democratic Recorder was conducted at first by 
Robert Alexander and James B. Sener, and afterwards by 
S. Greenhow Daniel. The names of The Virginia Star, 
Fredericksburg Ledger, the TVew Era, The Independent, 
and the Recorder are too familiar to those now living to 
need detailed narrative. 


Leaving the newspapers, we must now briefly notice the 
churches of Fredericksburg. . The Baptist first comes into 
view in June, 17H8, and in a manner strongly forecasting 
the struggle which religious freedom was about to inaugu- 
rate with the vicious but venerable principle of church 
establishment. At that time, three zealous Baptists, John 
Waller, Lewis Craig and James Childs, were seized by the 
sheriff of Spotsylvania and carried before three magistrates 
in the yard of the church building. The nominal charge 
against them was for ' ' preaching the Gospel contrary to 
law," but their real offence has been disclosed to us by old 
Doctor Semple, who says that a certain lawyer vehemently 


accused tliem, and said, "May it please your Worships, 
these men are great disturbers of the peace; they cannot 
meet a man upon the road but they must ram a text of 
/Scripture doivn his throat." They were ordered to jail in 
Fredericksburg, and as they passed through the streets they 
sang in solemn concert the hymn beginning, " Broad is the 
road that leads to death." While in jail, they preached 
through the iron gratings of the windows and door. The 
people listened in awe, and already a spirit was awakened 
which grew in might until it grappled with and overthrew 
not only the Established C'liurch, but the principles on 
which it was founded. 

It is not iny purpose to trace minutely the history of each 
church in Fredericksbui'g, and therefore it will suffice here 
to say of the Baptist church that she has accomplished a 
good work, and that few of her deeds have been better or 
wiser than that which placed over her most important 
church here as its spiritual guide, its present pastor; and 
which has enabled our Library Association to gain as her 
second })resident the Kev. Dr. Thomas S. Dunaway. Two 
colored Baptist churches are also hei'e, and well organized. 

Previous to the revolution, the Methodist church had no 
distinct existence in Fredericksburg, and, indeed, none in 
America. But, after the ordination of Dr. Coke and his 
assistants, the Church planted itself here, and, with its 
accustomed zeal and fervor, grew rapidly in numbers. It& 
oldest church building stood on the lot near Liberty town, 
back of the lot now known as the town park. It has 
entirely disappeared. But two compai'atively modern 
buildings succeeded it, the last of which was erected in 
consequence of the division in sentiment between the 
Northern and Southern Methodists. Among the numerous 
able Methodist divines who have been in Fredericksburg, 
I will only mention the venerable father in God, Mr. 
Kobler, who was long a resident among us. His holy life 
gave him much influence. His quaint and uncompromising 
honesty was exhibited in a prayer offered by him soon after 
the first election of General Andrew Jackson as President. 
After praying for his health and happiness and success in 
his administration as President, he added solemnly the 


words, "Though Thou, O Lord, knowest well that we did 
not want him. ' ' 

The history of the Episcopal church in Fredericksburg 
furnishes ample food for philosophic and profitable thought. 
It was at first, of course, a part of the church system 
established by law. In 1732 Colonel William Byrd visited 
the town and thus, in brief terms, describes it: "Besides 
Colonel Willis, who is the top-man of the place, thei'e are 
only one merchant, a tailor, a smith, an ordinary keeper, 
and a lady who acts both as a doctress and coffee- woman." 
In that year, 1732, the first church was erected in Fred- 
ericksburg. It was in the parish of St. George, which 
then embraced the whole county of Spotsylvania; and this 
county, as established in 1720, extended westward " to the 
river beyond the high mountains " — i.e. the Shenandoah — 
and included not only its present territory, but all of the 
present territories of Orange, Culpeper, Madison, Greene 
and Rappahannock. During the period from the building 
of the first church in Fredericksburg, until 1734, Rev. 
Patrick Henry was the minister. He was uncle of the 
great orator. From that time to the end of the revolu- 
tionary war, only two clergymen need special notice. They 
were father and son, and both bore the name of James 
Marye. The father was a native of France and belonged 
to that oppressed but noble people known as the Huguenots, 
They were uncompromising protestants, and Calviuists in 
faith and church forms. The edict of Nantz, by which 
they were secured religious freedom and protected from 
persecution in France, was granted by the chivalrous 
Henry of Navarre — Henri Quatre — and was revoked in 
1685 by that concentrated essence of all the worst vices of 
the Bourbons — Louis Fourteenth. In the persecutions 
preceding and attending this revocation, it is estimated 
that two hundred thousand Huguenots suffered martyrdom, 
and seven hundred thousand, embracing the most industri- 
ous and God-fearing people of France, were driven from 
the kingdom. A considerable number of them came to 
Virginia and settled at Manakintown on the James river, 
about twenty miles above Richmond. Rev. James Marye 
became their minister, and so excellent was his reputation 


that the good people of Fredericksburg petitioned Governor 
Gooch to let them have him. He found nothing in the 
Articles or Service of the Episcopal church which violated 
his conscience, therefore he was willing to come. He was 
inducted in October, 1735, and ministered here for thirty- 
two years. He was succeeded by his son bearing the same 
name, who ministered to the church until 1780. The 
widow of the Rev. James Marye, Jr., long survived him, 
and was well known to many now living, as were his 
daughters, Mrs. Dunn, Mrs. Smith, of Snowden, above 
Fredericksburg, to which allusion has been made, and 
Mrs. Adams, who long lived in the house now occupied by 
Mr. Robert T. Knox. 

It can give us no pleasure to dwell on that dismal period 
between the revolutionary measures which overturned the 
Established Church and the renaissance of this century, a 
period especially dismal to the true friends of Episcopacy 
in this region, l)ecause neither in the character of the 
ministers nor in the continuous decline of piety, could they 
find any elements of hope. That some of the rectors in 
Fredericksburg, even during that period, were good men, 
cannot be doubted. But they were not of high-toned 
Christianity, and they labored under disadvantages not to 
be surmounted. And, by far, the greatest number were 
men of the world, who indulged themselves in drinking, 
horse-racing and gaming. Rev. Mr. Slaughter does not, 
I believe, in his history of St. George's parish, give the 
name of old Parson Mackouochie, who was so renowned 
for his convivial and card-playing habits that a naval officer 
born in our town, u])on whom, in infancy, this old clergy- 
man had sprinkled the water of baptism, was accustomed, 
in after life, to account for his own occasional aberrations 
by the fact that he had been christened by old Parson 
Mackonochie. And an incident, narrated by the pious and 
authentic Bishop Meade, undoubtedly l^elongs to this period. 
I would not venture to relate it but for his high authority, 
and but for the fact that lie states he obtained it from two 
old meu of unimpeached veracity, one or ])oth of whom 
were present at the closing scene of the drama. And 
though he does not state either the name of the clergyman 


or the place of the event, yet as he was often here at the 
close of this sad period, as the incident corresponds with 
habits then known to have prevailed here, and is in accord 
with other similar incidents known to have existed here, I 
think it no rash presumption to attribute it to Fredericks- 

He relates that a clergyman, who was of great stature 
and strength and of highly strung passions, was accustomed 
to rule his vestry with a rod of iron. Wishing to have 
something done which only the vestry could do, he con- 
vened them. But a majority of them were unwilling to 
vote as he wished. A quarrel ensued; high words were 
speedily followed by blows, and in this pugilistic encounter, 
the clergyjnau, by his gigantic strength and skill as a 
bruiser, got the better of the recusant vestrymen, mauled 
them unmercifully, and drove them from his presence. 
The affair naturally created great excitement, and in order 
to explain it and to justify himself, the clergyman on the 
succeeding Sabbath day preached a sermon on a text from 
the book of Nehemiah, which read thus: "And I con- 
tended with them, and cursed them, and smote certain of 
them, and plucked off their hair." These were sad times 
for the cause of religion. 

But in the year 1818 a great change commenced. Rev. 
Edward Charles McGuire in that year came to the church 
first as a lay reader, and after his ordination, as rector. 
His own diary has given an account of his reception, 
which must be here repeated. He says: 

" I was received by the people witli very little cordiality, in con- 
sequence, I suppose, of the shameful conduct of several ministers 
who had preceded me in this place. The church was in a state of 
complete prostration. Many persons had been driven away, and 
those who remained were much discouraged. Under these disastrous 
circumstances I commenced a career most unpromising in the esti- 
mation of men." 

The result was a signal proof of the blessing always 
attending true piety and Christian zeal. He continued 
with the church to the time of his death in 1858, a period 
of forty-five years from the beginning of his ministry. 
During this time, a series of sound religious revivals, 


amounting almost to a continuous revival, visited his 
church, greatly adding to her numbers, and culminating 
in the year 1858, just six months before his death, in the 
coming forward of eighty-eight persons at once to receive 
the rite of confirmation. The eflTect of this scene was 
almost overpowering to Doctor McGuire, and was a fitting 
preparation for the enjoyment of the upper Sanctuary to 
which he was so soon called. 

Since his death changes have occurred, under the influ- 
ence of which the Episcopalians of Fredericksburg worship 
in two churches, St. George's, under the Rev. Mr. McBryde, 
and Trinity church, under Rev. Dr. Murdaugh, to both of 
which gentlemen I am indebted for valuable material for 
this lecture. 

The Presbyterian church in Fredericksburg commenced 
its life under the labors of Rev. Samuel B. Wilson, who 
came to the town as a domestic missionary, in 1805. At 
that time only two Presbyterians existed in the town. One 
was a merchant from the province of Ulster, in Ireland, 
Mr. John ]\Iark, Avho was one of the first ruling elders; 
the other was Mrs. Caldwell (nee Kirkpatrick), grand- 
mother of the late John S. Caldwell. The real and life- 
giving themes of the (jrospel were then a novelty in Fred- 
ericksburg, and under their presentation, attended by 
divine efficacy, the numbers gathered constantly increased 
until they were strong enough to build their first house of 
worship on the lot now occupied by the Asylum building. 
We have, of this period in the church's history, a very 
vivid and interesting account presenting the male wor- 
shipers, Mark, Grinnan, Mundle, Seddou, Vass, Morson, 
Patton, Henderson, Wellford, Brook, Fitzgerald, and the 
even more devout female worshipers, Mrs. Mary Alex- 
ander, Mrs. Morson, of Hollywood, and her daughters 
Marion and Eliza; Mrs. Patton, the donor of the ground, 
the daughter of General Mercer; Miss Stevenson, Mrs. 
French, the Misses Lomax, Mrs. Allison and Miss Marion 
Briggs from Harwood, given by a writer in Dr. Foote's 
"Sketches of Virginia," which I have felt strongly inclined 
to insert in this lecture; but as it is in print and in form 
accessible to those whom it would most interest, I forbear. 


Dr. Wilson coutinued to be the pastor until 1840, and has 
been followed in succession by Messrs. McPhail, Hodge, 
Lacy, Gilmer and Smith — to the last of whom we are in 
large measure indebted for the success of the Fredericks- 
burg library. 

Under the impulse given by a sermon from Bishop 
McGill in 1856, a Roman Catholic church was established 
in Fredericksburg in 1859. And under occasional visits 
from Bishops Gibbons and Keane, and the continued 
ministrations of the Rev. Fathers Hagan, Donnelan, 
O'Farrell, Sears, Brady, Becker and Tiernan, this church 
has not been permitted to languish. Although its congre- 
gation is not large, it embraces some of our successful 
citizens, and some who have proved themselves to be sin- 
cere and active friends of our library enterprise. 

Passing now from the spiritual and mental influences 
coming from schools, newspapers and chui'ches, I propose 
to say a few words about the more material elements, viz. : 
the old buildings in and around Fredericksburg. 

Old Houses. 

As accurately as I have been able to ascertain, the oldest 
house now in the city is the residence owned and occupied 
by our townsman, Wm. A. Little, although some others 
press it hard in the race of anti(piity, and especially the 
old wooden building formerly the residence of Mary, the 
mother of Washington. It is somewhat remarkable that 
Mr. Little is also the owner of the oldest house in Stafford 
county, viz. : the dwelling at Boscobel, which has a chim- 
ney slab bearing the date, 1752, and is, with good reason, 
supposed to have been built about half a century prior to 
that date, viz. : about 1702 — the very year that Queen 
Anne conmienced her reign, and when Joseph Addison was 
yet a young man, and Alexander Pope was a small lad. 
But Mr. Little has so renewed, extended and adorned both 
his old mansions that it would be hard to And the pure 
originals. That fine old building, Chatham, opposite Fred- 
ericksburg, was built by William Fitzhugh, a son of the 
original William Fitz Hugh, who is the progenitor of the 


Fitzhughs of Virginia, and who was of Norman extract, and 
came to Virginia as a lawyer to attend to some important 
interests of the King. Wm. Fitzhugh, of Chatham, did 
not continue there to reside, because he found that the 
abounding hospitality expected of him would bring him to 
poverty. His words were: "lean stand the expenses of 
my table but not the expenses of ray stable,'" and when 
we bear in mind that often during the Mulberry races it 
was common for six carriages, each drawn by four horses 
and each filled with male and female guests, and each 
attended by a black driver and footman, to drive up to his 
door before breakfast, we may feel the force of his words. 
The handsome building below Fredericksburg, known aa 
Mansfield, long occupied by the Bernard family, and which 
was burned during the war, was erected by Mann Page, 
of the family of John Page, Governor of Virginia, in 
1802, whose lineal ancestor, Mann Page, the first, began 
to build Rosewell, a magnificent and costly mansion near 
Williamsburg, which he did not live to complete, but 
which his widow and oldest son completed after his death. 
The total cost was so enormous as to embarrass the whole 
family and cause the sale of nearly all their lands,, and to 
call forth from the pious and prudent Bishop Meade some 
well-timed refiections in his "Old Churches and Families 
of Virginia. ' ' The venerable old mansion near the western 
line of our town, known as Kenmore, was built by Mr. 
Fielding Lewis, who married Betty, the sister of General 
George Washington, and who was the grandfather of Mrs. 
McGuire, wife of Rev. Edward C. McGuire. The fine 
stuccoing of this house could not have been executed by 
any native workman, and is believed to have been the 
work of an English soldier captured during the revolution 
and sent for safe-keeping to Fredericksburg. The tra- 
dition in the Lewis family was that immediately after 
finishing his work lie accidentally fell from the scattbld and 
was killed. Mr. Fielding Lewis had first selected as his 
place of residence the lot now occupied by Mr. George 
Shepherd, and had there erected a handsome residence, 
which, before it was ever occupied, was destroyed by fire. 
He then built the Kenmore house. The dwelling now 


occupied by Mr, George Shepherd was erected by Robert 
Mackay, a merchant of Fredericksburg. 

Mary, the mother of Washington, selected for the place 
of her burial a spot on the Kenmore land, close by a rocky 
crag, which she preferred because, as she declared, it could 
never be cultivated. Here her remains rest, and here the 
exact spot was pointed out by Mr. Bazil Gordon, the 
wealthy merchant of Falmouth, when preparations were 
being made about the year 1832 to lay the corner-stone of 
the present unfinished monument, under the eye of Presi- 
dent Andrew Jackson, with an imposing military and civic 

The lawyers of the past days of Fredericksburg are 
represented by the well-known names of Rootes, Minor, 
Williams, Green, Stanard, Patton, Stevenson, Barton, 
Botts, Moncure, Herndon, Conway, Daniel, Marye and 
Bernard; the physicians by the names of Mercer, French, 
Carter, Wellford, Wallace, Hall, Herndon, Carmichael, 
father, son and grandson; the merchants by the names of 
Grinnan, Muudle, Ross, Scott, Henderson, Patton, MofFett, 
Spence, Dunbar, Johnston, the Knoxes, Phillips, Mackay 
and the Gordons — Samuel and Bazil. These last named 
were born in Scotland — the sous of a well-to-do landed 
proprietor near Kirkaldbright, a little village which has 
sent forth many successful merchants to America, among 
whom were Lenox, Maitlaud and Johnston, of New York. 
Bazil Gordon was the younger brother, and was at school 
with a son of the celebrated Paul Jones, of naval memory, 
who was himself a neighbor of the Gordon family, and 
whose exploits have been immortalized in history and in 
Cooper's fine sea novel, "The Pilot." Samuel and Bazil 
Gordon, after some hesitation between Falmouth and 
Dumfries, settled at Falmouth, about the year 1786, and 
became eminently successful merchants. After accumu- 
lating a fine fortune, Samuel bought the Kenmore estate 
and abandoned merchandise; but Bazil continued in busi- 
ness, accumulating wealth, which at his death was measured 
by millions. His adventures were nearly always successful ; 


but he owed much of his success to his native Scotch good' 
sense, his perfectly temperate and reguLar habits, his self- 
reliance, which enabled him patiently to wait for results 
when he had formed his plans, and his serene temper, 
which secured for him friends in nearly all with whom he 
came in contact. He died in 1847. 

Secret Societies. 

I would be giving an incomplete view of Fredericksburg 
without some notice of the Masonic organizations and other 
analogous fraternities that have existed within her bounds. 
But this notice must necessarily be brief and imperfect, as 
it is such only as one of the humble uninitiated may obtain. 
Free Masonry was introduced into Virginia certainly as 
early as the year 1725. The first lodge organized was in 
Norfolk; the second in Port Royal; the third in Petersburg; 
the fourth in Fredericksburg. This last has the designation 
No. 4, and is supposed to have been organized as early as 
17-35, though its records of that date have perished. It 
Avas at first independent in its organization. But in 1758 
its Master, Daniel Campbell, according to a vote of the 
lodge, while he was visiting Scotland, procured from the 
Grand Lodge of that country a charter for No. 4, which 
bore date 21st July, 1758. In 1787 a charter from the 
Grand Lodge of Virginia was also accepted for No. 4, but 
with the express reservation of all her rights under her 
Scottish charter. About 1800, for some reasons political 
or social, or both, a number of members withdrew from 
No. 4 and formed American Lodge, No. 63, which at one 
time was very flourishing, and embraced in its membership 
many of our best citizens. But, during the Avar, it became 
extinct and has never been revived. In the bombardment 
and subsequent sack of Fredericksburg, all of the records 
of No. 4 were destroyed or lost except a few imperfect 
fragments from 1752 to 1771. The lodge meetings seem 
at first to have been held in the private houses of promi- 
nent members, and I have from an intelligent Mason a 
note to the effect that "the house of Brother George 
Weedon Avas a favorite place, no doubt partly from the 


fact of his beiug liberal iu providing refreshments, which 
was a great consideration with Masons of ye olden time. ' ' 
The house of General Weedon here spoken of was the 
w-ell-known ' ' Sentry Box ' ' in the lower end of Fredericks- 
burg, afterwards occupied by Colonel Hugh Mercer, and 
now occupied by W. Roy Mason. Afterwards a room for 
No. 4 was fitted up over the market-house (then standing 
on Main street), and the meetings were held there from 
June, 1762 till 1813, when the building was torn down 
preparatory to the erection of the present town hall and 
market-house. Then No. 4 held its meetings at the Rising 
Sun Hotel, the old wooden building still standing on Main 
street, between Fauquier and Hawk streets. Finally, in 
1815, the present lodge building was completed, which 
stands on the corner of Princess Anne and Hanover streets. 
This venerable lodge, No. 4, has at various times embraced 
in its membership eminent men — soldiers, statesmen and 
private citizens. Among the first was the Father of his 
Country, George Washington, who, in this lodge, received 
the first degree November 4, 1752, the second degree 
March 3, 1753, and the third degree August 4, 1753. 
The Bible used in these ceremonies is still held by the 
lodge in good preservation. It was printed at Cambridge, 
by John Field, in 1668. Generals Hugh Mercer and 
George Weedon were also members. By order of No. 4, 
and by moneys to the amount of $5,000, raised by its 
exertions, a very beautiful and faithful statue of Wash- 
ington, in Avhite marble, was wrought by the great artist, 
Hiram Power. It was safely transported to Fredericks- 
burg, but ere it could be erected the war came on. For 
safe-keeping it was sent to Richmond, and there perished 
in the terrible conflagration of April 3, 1865. Lodge No. 4 
furnished five Grand Masters to the Grand Lodge of 
Virginia, viz.: James Mercer, in 1784; General Robert 
Brooke, in 1795; Major Benjamin Day, from 1797 to 
1800; Oscar M. Crutchfield, in 1841; and Beverly R. 
Wellford, Jr. (now circuit judge of Richmond), in 1877; 
and No. 63 furnished one, viz. : John S. Caldwell, in 1856. 
In 1873 Fredericksburg Royal Arch Chapter was or- 
ganized, and in 1875 Fredericksburg Commandry No. 1, 


of the order of Knights Templar was instituted, of which 
Colonel Robert S. Chew is Worthy Commander. Thus 
three Masonic bodies exist in Fredericksburg, each in 
flourishing condition, and the three are able to confer all 
the degrees in ancient York Masonry. 

There are also in Fredericksburg a number of secret 
fraternities under the various names of Odd Fellows, 
Knights of Honor, Knights of Pythias, Royal Arcanum, 
Good Templars, Sous of Sobriety and Good Samaritans, to 
all of which, so far as their objects are Christian, chari- 
table and moral, we Avish God-speed. 

Present of Fredericksburg. 

Thus I have sought to present to you the past of Fred- 
ericksburg. Her present you know as much of as I do. 
She has still her moderate and pleasant climate, her de- 
lightful water, her charming society, her female beauty, 
which, I think, no one who has had the opportunity of 
looking over this audience would consider to have deterio- 
rated since the olden time; her picturesque surroundings, 
her cheapness in all the necessaries of life. In all these, 
she is not changed; and in addition to all these, she now 
has her great water power, secured by a dam erected by 
very skillful engineers. This water power is already in 
extensive use; but is capable of farther utilization to an 
indefinite extent. It presents the vast advantage of being 
offered to manufacturers on cheap and easy terms. 

Her Future. 

And as to the future of Fredericksburg in a business 
point of view, I can only express the humble opinion that 
her best hope— perhaps I may say her only hope— is in 
manufactures. She has long ago reached and passed the 
point wherein merchandising proper — that is the mere 
exchange of goods and Avares for money or in barter, can 
support more people within her bounds than are now sup- 
ported thereby. But in manufacturing — that is the appli- 
cation of skilled labor to raw material— there is indefinite 


and wide room for expansion. Her water power is all suf- 
ficient. And when we recall the names, of the past and 
present times, who have engaged in this brave struggle, 
Joseph Burwell Ficklen and his sons, one of whom bearing 
his name exceeds his father in far-seeing energy; William 
C Beale, Myer & Brulle, Pettit and his partners; John G. 
Hurkamp, Charles E. Hunter, and others whom I might 
name, and see what they have already accomplished, I see 
no reason why the future of manufactures in Fredericks- 
burg should not be brighter than the past. 

But let us not deceive ourselves with the hope that any 
success in this life will make this life a perfect satisfaction 
to the soul. If perfect material success should come, it 
will he attended with drawbacks and losses of which we 
have heretofore known nothing. If Fredericksburg should 
ever become a great manufacturing district like Manchester 
or Birmingham, in England, or like Providence, in Rhode 
Island, or Lowell, in Massachusetts, then the Fredericks- 
burg of our fathers will be gone. The spiritual and intel- 
lectual stimulus will have been diverted into the material 
and the earthly. The individualism once so self-assertive 
and so attractive here will be forced down by the dead 
level of a rushing current of wordly success and worldly 

Whether this change be in all respects desirable even in 
Fredericksburg, I will not undertake to decide. But this 
I will say, that it is not impossible, by the exercise of virtue 
and industi'v, to make in our much loved old town the 
happiest medium of mental activity, emotional enjoyment 
and material progress that this world can furnish. 



The substance of this historical pamphlet, entitled 


delivered by the author as a lecture requested by and for 
the benefit of the Fredericksburg Library and Lyceum 
Association. It Avas so favorably received that measures 
were immediately taken for its publication, and the first 
edition appeared in 1880. 

This issue has been entirely exhausted by sales, so that 
the frequent demand for copies cannot be met. The pres- 
ent publishers have made preparations for a new edition, 
with a supplemental narrative and statement as to Fred- 
ericksburg to the present time. 

The accuracy, general and special, of the original work 
has received encouraging confirmation from official sources. 
In 1881 the connnon council of Fredericksburg provided 
for a new publication of her laws and ordinances, and 
directed that the code should "contain an introductory 
i:)reface of the histor}' and progress of the city from its 
foundation to the present, to be collected from the best and 
most reliable historical sources. ' ' 

This historical preface was prepared accordingly, and 
after approval and adoption by the mayor and council, 
appears in the "General Ordinances of the Corporation of 
Fredericksburg," ])ublishecl in 1883. This small volume 
has become rare. Except the copies held by officials, few 
can be found. I had not seen a copy, until, within a few 
days just past, one was put into my hands through the 
kindly offices of the late venerable mayor, Hon. A. P. Rowe. 

A careful examination of the historical preface discloses 
the fact that a very large part of it is taken, in substance, 
from the pamphlet of 1880, entitled "Fredericksburg: 
Past, Present and Future." 

Acknowledgments to that effect are very frankly made 
in this preface. The writer thereof does not, of course, 
attempt to enter the field of individual characters and 
events, but contents himself with a clear and well written 


statement of facts suited to the purposes contemplated by 
the action of the council. 

A few errors in history appear in this preface, for which 
the pamphlet is not responsible. But as these errors are 
generally immaterial in reference to the object sought by 
the council, no special statement of them is needed herein, 
A single example will suffice. 

On the opening page of this preface, it is stated that 
" Fredericksburg was founded by law in 1727, and named 
for Frederick, Prince of Wales, father of George Second." 
This is a mistake. (Toorge Second was Prince of Wales, 
being the oldest son of George First, that rough and 
immoral old German elector of Hanover who became 
King of England in right of his mother, the Princess 
Sophia of Mecklenburg Strelitz. 

Frederick, from whom Fredericksburg takes her name, 
was son of George Second and was Prince of Wales after 
his father became King in 1727. He never became King 
himself, having died in the lifetime of his father. But 
Frederick's son became King, and was that same George 
Third ' ' to whose mingled obstinacy and insanity Ave are 
indebted for American independence." 

To this " historical preface" we are indebted for some 
facts in the life of our old town which do not fully appear 
in the pamphlet. Two conflagrations — one in 1807, and 
the other in 1822, for a time, desolated the town. The 
first commenced in a house on the lot and premises formerly 
occupied by ^Ir. dreorge W. Shepherd. It was then occu- 
pied by the family of Wm. Stanard, who had just died, 
and whose body, prepared for the grave, was lying in the 
house when the fire broke out. It swept down Main street, 
destroying houses on both sides, but leaving the house on 
" Henderson's corner" undestroyed. It burned the Bank 
of Virginia, which then stood on the present site of Shiloh 
Baptist church, on Water street. 

The fire of 1822 originated in a building at the corner 
of Main and George streets, now known as " Wellford's 
corner," and destroyed the entire commercial block in 
that region. But by enterprise and exertion, a complete 
restoration in better style has taken place. It is remark- 


able, however, that one square of the houses destroyed in 
1807 has not been rebuilded. 

The conditions of lively trade in the town, prior to the 
advent of the railroad era, are indicated by the fact stated 
in this preface, that sometimes on Commerce street and in 
the western parts adjacent, as many as fifty wagons could 
be counted in the morning. They were from Orange, 
Culpeper, Rappahannock and the Shenandoah regions 
beyond the Blue Ridge. They were drawn by four horses 
generally, but sometimes by six splendid Conestogas, with 
new harness and tinkling bells on crimson arches over the 
shoulders of the horses. They brought down wheat, flour, 
butter, bacon, pork, venison, every article good for human 
food. Some worthy people think, even now, that those 
were the "halcyon days" of Fredericksburg. But the 
better days were to come. 

The names of the "mayors of Fredericksburg" from 
1782, given in the ordinance on pages 40 and 41, suggest 
some memories with which we would not part. James 
Somerville appears among them three times, viz. : in 1784, 
1787 and 1792. Pie was that social Scottish gentleman 
who inherited a large estate from an uncle, and resided in 
Fredericksburg long enough to marry Mary Atwell, and 
become attached to a wide circle of connections and friends. 
He then purchased a beautiful estate, known as Somervilla, 
on the Rapidan river, and resided there during the rest of 
his life, leaving sons and daughters from whom many 
descendants are in parts of our Southland. 

One of his grandsons, Prof Samuel W. Somerville, is iu 
the faculty of the College of Fredericksburg, and has 
builded for himself and his household a very handsome 
residence near to the Mary Washington monujneut. 

Others of those mayors bear the well known names of 
Charles Mortimer, George Weedon, George French, Benja- 
min Day, Fontaine Maury, Garret Minor, Robert Mackay, 
David Briggs, Robert Lewis, a descendant from Fielding 
Lewis, who married Betty, the sister of George Washing- 
ton, and who died in office February 10, 1829; Thomas 
Goodwin, John H. Wallace, Benjamin Clarke, Robert 
Baylor Semple, John L. Marye, Jr., Peter Goolrick, 


William S. Scott, Montgomery Slaughter, Joseph W. 
Sener, and others wliose names and memories are among us. 

The last name entitled to a place in this worthy line is 
that of Wm. Seymour White, who died at his home in 
Fredericksburg, November 26, 1897, after having held 
the office and successfully discharged the duties of mayor 
for more than a year. He was in his forty-fourth year in 
age. He had surmounted many obstacles arising from 
feeble constitution and health, and had gained a name of 
distinction as citizen, editor, lawyer and public officer. 

Thus we are led to review some of the yet extant monu- 
ments and buildings of the past of Fredericksburg. The 
house owned by Mary, the mother of Washington, and in 
which La Fayette visited her in 1784, and in which the 
Father of his Country paid, to his then feel)le and dying 
mother, his last visit in March, 1789, is still standing in 
primitive simplicity and dignity at the corner of Charles 
and Lewis streets. It is now owned by the "Society for 
the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities," which has, 
since its organization, so highly honored its own members 
and honored our State-mother by caring for the homes and 
memories dear to her. Robert C. Beale, of a family well- 
known in Fredericksburg, and his wife, who was a daughter 
of Commodore Thomas A. Dornin, of the United States 
Navy, and their children have occupied this Washington 
house for years, and seek to carry out the plans and pur- 
poses of the society wlio own it. 

The tomb of Mary Washington near the rocky crag and 
chasm formerly a part of the Ken more estate is now marked 
by a monument worthy, by its massive foundation of gran- 
ite, and its simjilicity, stateliness and beauty, to preserve 
the memory of her who gave birth to the man of all ages 
the greatest and most symmetrically developed in soul and 
body, and who by her own virtues and discipline con- 
tributed so powerfully to make him what he was. 

The changes which culminated in the erection, comple- 
tion and unveiling of this monument are worthy of notice. 
They are not without their lessons. 

Prior to the year 1833, one single person, Silas E. 
Burroughs, a wealthy merchant of New York, was the 

only person who came forward for a work which ought to 
have enlisted, from the beginning, the hearts and substance 
of the women and men of the United States of America. 
He volunteered to furnish all the needed money and means 
for erecting a suitable monument over the grave of Mary 
Washington. A plan and drawing of a very ornate and 
beautiful monument were selected, a competent architect 
was engaged, and the foundation was laid. 

In 1833, Andrew Jackson, President of the United 
States, attended by members of his cabinet and by a large 
number of citizens, volunteer soldiers, and military and 
civic bands of music, came on from Washington and the 
District of Columbia to Fredericksburg. Here he was 
met and welcomed by enthusiastic people, officers, soldiers, 
citizens and societies, and the corner-stone of the monument 
was laid with imposing solemnities. 

The work went on until the square body of the monument 
was completed with its polished marble pillars, and its 
carved flutings and traceries. Then came the mutterings 
of the financial storm which innnediately followed the 
second term of President Jackson. Silas E. Burroughs 
sank under the very earliest billows of that storm. He 
failed disastrously. The work on the monument stopped. 
Burroughs went to South America and to other parts of 
the world. He kept up his spirits, and wrote that he was 
on the road to such a fortune as would enable him to com- 
plete the work. But money did not come. 

The enormous rough marble plinth for the- spire did 
come to the wharf in Fredericksburg. By contract it was 
moved from the wharf to the site of the monument, with 
oxen, mules, wagon frames, wheels, chains, shoutings of 
boys, and pulling of ropes altogether indescribable. It 
was deposited amid the weeds, shrubs and rubbish near the 
unfinished structure. And there it remained for more than 
a half-century. No stroke of sculptor's mallet or chisel 
ever fell on it. 

The unfinished monument was often visited, but seldom 
with pleasure — seldom without a sense of something like 
humiliation. After the " war between the States," appeals 
were made to Congress to appropriate money to complete it 
or build another in its place, but Congress would not move. 


Then tlie souls of the women of the country began to 
stir within tliem ou this pathetic subject. An association 
was formed in October, 1889, by the women of Freder- 
icksburg, under Mrs. James P. Smith, and some months 
afterwards, as an outcome of this movement, a national 
association was formed, headed by the widow of Chief 
Justice Waite. Appeals went out. All the women in the 
country bearing the name of "Mary" and all the men 
interested in these women were urged to give. Money 
poured into their treasury. A plan for a monument, 
solid, stately, yet graceful and beautiful, was selected. 
Artists worked on it. The monument was approved and 
erected on the site of the unfinished monument, which was 
removed, although its most graceful parts have been pre- 

On Thursday, the 10th day of May, 1894, the ceremony 
of unveiling took place. The day was serene and cheering 
to soul and body. The President of the United States, 
Grover Cleveland, and nearly all of his cabinet, with a 
very large number of citizens, male and female, from the 
District of Columbia and other parts of the country at- 
tended. Charles O'Ferrall, Governor of Virginia, on 
horseback, attracted favorable notice by his knightly ap- 
pearance and bearing. Military regiments and companies 
from Washington, Alexandria, Richmond, Fredericksburg; 
bands of music. Masons, Knights Templar, fire companies, 
large companies of ladies in gay attire and mounted on 
horses splendidly caparisoned, and immense outpourings of 
citizens, male and female, made the occasion one never to 
be forgotten. Mrs. Waite and her co-laborers and officers 
were in attendance full of the sweet joy of success. John 
W. Daniel, Senator, and probably first in reputation as an 
orator, delivered the address. A ban(juet at night closed 
the ceremonies. Xever before had the people of the town 
had their souls so full of the joy of processions. 

The old framed building on the south side of Main street, 
between Fauquier and Hawk streets, formerly known as 
the Rising Sun Tavern, is attracting attention now because 
its owners are so repairing it that it may lose something of 
its antique appearance and interest. It is certainly true 


that in the olden time in colonial days, revolutionary days 
and afterwards, it was frequented by many eminent men. 
Old Lord Thomas P\iirfax was there with George Wash- 
ington just before he engaged the young Virginian as the 
surveyor of his vast landed possessions between the head 
streams of the Potomac and Rappahannock. John Mar- 
shall and James Monroe were frequently there. A great 
ball was given in the largest rooms of the house not many 
years after the fall of Yorktown. 

It was once the property of Colonel Gustavus B. Wal- 
lace, a revolutionary officer of excellent reputation. It 
passed to members of his family, and was the life property 
of Mrs. Elizabeth Wallace of Stafford, and was for years 
tenanted by her son, H. H. Wallace, a merchant of Fred- 
ericksburg loved and trusted by all who knew him. After 
her death, her son, Dr. J. H. Wallace, bought out the 
shares of the other owners, and the property is now owned 
by his children and descendants, who are repairing it for 

The seats known as Chatham, Snowden and Fall Hill 
near Fredericksburg have changed owners frequently since 
ISBo. They have been kept up and improved by the 
abundant money resources of their owners, who have been, 
generally, from States other than Virginia. Fall Hill, 
with part of the original tract of land, is the residence of 
Colonel Frank W. Smith, a civil engineer of reputation, 
who has lately written and published an article under the 
head of " Is it another Klondyke ? ' ' that has filled the 
souls of many people in Stafford and Spotsylvania counties 
with hopes of veins of gold in the multitudinous rocks on 
their lands. 

Brompton, on Marye's Heights, has passed into the 
ownership of Morris B. Rowe, Esq. , who has proved him- 
self to be a man of strong business intelligence and enter- 
prise. On the same range of hills is the graceful residence 
of brick erected and occupied by Colonel Charles Richard- 
son. The National Cemetery, with its superintendent's 
residence, its terraces, green grass, trees and monuments, 
will always draw visitors and tourists. 

The United States have very properly caused to be 


engineered, graded and macadamized, a broad road from 
tlie centre of Fredericksburg to this cemetery. Parts of 
this road were formerly a " slough of despond " to all who 
were compelled to pass through it. Now it is a private 
drive, ride and walk. 

The fearful "stonewall" which was the scene of the 
most sanguinary defeat of the Federal troops under Gen- 
eral Burnside on the evening of December 13, 1862, was 
nsed, as far as suitable, in building the cemetery residence. 
The remnant was sold, at auction or by private bid, some 
twelve years after that battle. It was purchased by the 
late Doctor Wm. 8. Scott, and made the buttress of his 
fertile grass lot on the slope just below Federal Hill in 
Fredericksburg. There it may be viewed by all who desire 
the sight, and the accompanying memories. 

The Confederate Cemetery, adjoining that of the city, 
and in which lie the remains of many brave men of the 
Southern armies, has continued to receive all the attentions 
that patriotism, love and gratitude could prompt. The 
former wooden headboards having decayed, their places 
have been taken by small granite monuments, each bearing 
the name or initials of the soldier lying beneath, in all 
cases where the name could be ascertained. The funds 
for this purpose were contributed all through our land, 
under the enthusiastic ajipeals and exertions chiefly led 
by Mrs. Captain J. Nicholson Barney of Fredericksburg. 
In every month of May decoration services are observed. 

The spot where the resolute and high-minded Confederate 
General Cobl) fell, on the road below Marye's Heights, is 
marked by a solid slab of polished granite bearing a brief 
inscription. In the Wilderness region the spot where 
General Stonewall Jackson was shot from his horse, by the 
dismal mistake of his own men, is marked by a permanent 
and appropriate monument. A similar monument, in 
permanence and purpose, marks the spot where the Federal 
General Sedgwick fell mortally wounded. The exasperat- 
ing memories of the war are indeed passing away. The 
monuments of honor to the worthy martyrs, on both sides 
of the lines, serve now rather to bind the people of South 
and North togrether than to alienate them. 


The " 8eutry Box " in the lower end of Fredericksburg, 
once occupied by Generals Weedon and Mercer and after- 
wards by the Mercer family, is still there and is kept in 
perfect order by the owner, Mr. O. I). Foster, once post- 
master of Fredericksburg. Hazel Hill is owned and 
occupied by Mr. J. S. Potter and his family. Mr. Potter 
has had rare opportunities, by travel and observation, to 
collect literary and artistic information and articles of 
curious value, and is earnest in his labors for the prosperity 
of Fredericksburg. 

No observer at all familiar with the town for a half- 
century past, can doubt that improvement of the most 
decided and encouraging character is in progress. More 
manufactories, business houses, educational buildings and 
private residences have been erected in Fredericksburg 
within the twenty years just passed than within any other 
similar period of her life. In the upper part of the city, 
in the neighborhood of the Mary Washington monument, 
around the square adjoining to Kenmore, on the streets 
running through the lots of the Development, and on the 
wide boulevard leading to the National Cemetery, these 
new residences have risen up. kSouic of the houses are 
large and convenient, builded for the families who were to 
occupy them. Others are smaller, being intended for 
investment and for occupation by tenants. But all have 
been fresh, modern and reasonably comfortable. 

AVith the advance of business and population, a desire 
for beauty and the indulgence of the aesthetic tastes has 
increased. Paint has been freely used on the houses of 
business and the dwellings, and the town has lost all dingi- 
ness and has broken out into smiles everywhere. Gas 
lights and electric Imrners and search lights have chased 
away that darkness which is inseparable from hopelessness 
and gloom. 

In the close of the original pamphlet the opinion Avas 
ventured that the best hope, perhaps the only hope of 
Fredericksburg, was in manufactures. Every stage of her 
subsequent progress tends to prove that this opinion was 
sound. Her manufactures have l)een increasing all the 
time. New forms of manufacture are springing up. 


The niaiiufacturiiig estal)lishiiients now operating in and 
near Fredericksburg are: 

The Bridgewater Flour and Corn Meal Mills, operated 
under the superintendence of Joseph Burwell Ficklen and 
William F. Ficklen, his brother. Business depressions, 
caused by uncontrollable irregularities of the relations of 
the market price of wheat and corn to manufactured flour 
and meal, have borne sorely on them, Init they have perse- 
vered, and the flour of their mills has taken medals in expo- 
sitions in nearlv all the civilized countries of the world. 

The Excelsior Flour and Corn Meal Mills of C. H. Pettit. 

The Germania Flour and Corn Mills of Myer & Brulle. 

The Farmers Friend Plow Works of Charles E. Hunter. 

The Eagle Shoe Factory. 

The Ken mo re Shoe Factory. 

The Washington Woolen Mills. 

The Silk Factory. 

The Southern Foundry and Machine Works, Chas. Tyler. 

The Southern Plow Mill W.orks, Charles Tyler. 

The Steam Ice Factory (limited). 

The Sunuxc INIill Company, John G. Hurkamp & Co. 

The Bark Mill Company," Hurkamp & Co. 

The Extract Works, John G. Hurkamp. 

Hurkamp Foundry Company. 

R. T. Knox & Brother's Sumac Mill. 

R. T. Knox & Brother's Bone Mill. 

R. T. Knox & Brother's Extract Works. 

John T. Knight's Brick Yard and Kilns. 

Brick Yard and Factory, 'M. B. Rowe. 

Cigar Factor}'. 

Pickle Factory by Colonel Charles Richardson. 

Alert tt McGuire's Pickle Factory. 

Mr. Wm. Peden's Pickle Factory. 

Fredericksburg Wagon Works, S. W. Landram. 

Spoke Factory, George Morrison. 

Fredericksburg Rim and Felloe Works. 

Buggy and Wagon Manufactory, Geo. Gravatt. 

Fredericksburg Wood Working Plant. 

Flancock & Stearns' Wood Working Plant. 

Battlefield Granite Company, Yorcke & Swift. 


Stafford Granite Works, W. F. Ficklen. 

Falls Plantation Granite Woi-ks, Innis Taylor. 

Free Lance Publishing and Job Printing Works. 

P'rederickshnrg Star Publishing and Job Printing Works. 

AVlien })o\ver, stronger than manual, is used, most of 
these factories use steam power. But the larger mills and 
manufactories are run by water power, and most of them 
by the Water Power Company of Fredericksburg. 

I feel at liberty to make a cautious statement that 
negotiations concerning this great water pow'er have been 
in progress whicli, in the opinio)i of competent and pru- 
dent men, will probably result in its transfer to an associ- 
ation or company having abundant money resources, and 
who will establish, in connection with the water power, one 
or more i)lants for industrial operations on a large scale in 
or near I-'redericksburg. 

In the close of the pamphlet, apprehensions were sug- 
gested that if our town grew rich and prosperous, she 
would grow dull and uninteresting. But this fear may now 
be banished. She retains her excellent water, her abundant 
and cheaj) means of living, her beautiful and fascinating 
women, and her men of wit and culture. And she has now 
even a higher power to preserve her from sluggishness. 

Her |)ublic schools, established since 18(58, have always 
been of high grade and have done much to elevate the 
young people. But the want of means for thorough col- 
lege education in the town was felt. 

This want has been efficiently supplied. Chiefly by the 
exertions of Rev. Dr. A. P. Saunders and of many in our 
midst anfl at a distance, who had the good sense to sympa- 
thize with him in his purposes and plans, a College of 
Fredericksburg has been established, and has been in suc- 
cessful operation since 1898. Under the charter granted 
by the General Assembly of Virginia in December, 1893 
(in attaining which Senator Wm. A. Little, Jr., was 
specially active and successful), the corporation has all the 
powers essential to a college. 

One of its most attractive features was its provision for 
home and education for the young and dependent children 
of missionaries, and the orphan children of ministers of 


Christ, and tlie foundation for a training school for mis- 
sionaries, generally ladies, who needed special education 
for their foreign fields. 

Questions have arisen by reason of the fixed principles 
of our constitutional law, separating State and Church, 
which have operated to draw a distinct line between the 
college proper and the religious elements involved in the 
home and training school. 

But as high education is needed by all the beneficiaries, 
it is happily supplied by the dual elements at work. In 
the college, history, ancient and modern, scriptural and 
secular, Oriental and Western, European and American; 
the ancient and modern languages, the exact sciences, 
grammar and geography in their highest sphere, political 
science and economy, physical science, embracing natural 
history, chemistry and biology; music, vocal and instru- 
mental; art in drawing and painting, and })hysical culture, 
all these are taught with a thoroughness tliat has yielded 
happy results. The co-educational principle is used and 
has been found to furnish a safe and healthful stimulus to 
successful exertion, by both male and female students. 

The number of students has sometimes exceeded two 
hundred. It has, in each session, reached an average of 
a hundred and fifty. 

The planting and growth of this college in Fredericks- 
burg have marked an era in her history most important 
and encouraging. The grounds, buildings, dwelling houses 
and elements of society coming as its outgrowth have aided 
in imparting life and courage to all of her best hopes. 

A National Battle Park is now contemplated, and many 
reasons exist why it should be in the region of which this 
noted Virginia to\vn is the basis. Within a hemisphere 
bordering on the south side of the Rappahannock river, 
centering on Fredericksburg, and thence running east, 
west and south for a distance of twenty-five miles, more 
men have fallen on fields of battle, dead, dying, bleeding, 
wounded mortally, or seriously, or slightly, than in any 
similar i..ea in all the world, AVaterloo and her adjoining 
fields sink into paleness and dimness when compared with 
Fredericksburg and her ensanguined battle-fields. 


T" v..